Walk – and ride – for wishes event Saturday

Published 6:38 pm Thursday, November 4, 2010

It is not every day that riding the swings or being tossedaround in a replica airplane can help in making dreams come true.However, that is certainly the case come Saturday.

The Seventh Annual Brookhaven Walk For Wishes will take off at 5p.m. at Exchange Club Park. Some changes, however, have been madeto this year’s event.

The old familiar 5k trek around the park will remain the same.However, the function’s new starting time is to incorporate the useof the attractions inside Exchange Club Park.

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The rides, operated by Exchange Club members, will be in motionimmediately following the walk around 6 p.m.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi Development Officer forCentral Mississippi Jane Walsh said the event usually draws a crowdof 100 people and raises roughly $20,000. However, she would liketo see more money this year to help the organization grant a fewmore wishes.

“We’re hoping to raise more money this year because of the rides,”said Walsh.

To try and generate more money, those hoping to participate inRides-For-Wishes will be required to purchase an armband for $15,which every cent of the $15 going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.The armband will allow for unlimited rides during the function,which is expected to end at 9 p.m.

Walsh said the average cost of a wish is $5,000, and the number onedesire is to visit Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World inOrlando.

She also added that all of the money raised for the event would godirectly back to the Mississippi chapter of the Make-A-WishFoundation, where there is an abundance of kids hoping for a chanceto experience their wish.

“We have four right now in Lincoln County, four in Pike County, andtwo in Copiah County,” said Walsh. “We have them all aroundBrookhaven.”

Other wishes include meeting NBA star Lebron James, having aplayhouse installed in the backyard and designing a dress for FirstLady Michelle Obama.

The wishes are more than fun experiences for the children. Doctorshave told Walsh that the wishes can help provide children withadditional strength needed to battle their illnesses.

“Our mission is to grant wishes to give children hope, strength andjoy,” said Walsh. “It gives them an incentive to get better.”

Teams, made up of local businesses and residents, also raise moneyto donate to the foundation.

Starting back in September, teams have been collecting money byasking for donations, having garage sales, selling T-shirts andhosting car washes.

Event co-chairman Judy Arnold said she has finally met her goal ofraising $5,000 after years of trying, and will enjoy donating everypenny.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Arnold. “Just to see a smile, tojust know that a child got a wish.”