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Wishes event shatters fundraising goal

Walkers endured a little delay Saturday before they could turnsteps and strides into vacations and excursions for illchildren.

“We’re a little late getting started, but it’s for a goodreason,” said Jane Walsh, Make-A-Wish Foundation of MississippiDevelopment Officer for Central Mississippi, during the local Walkfor Wishes at Exchange Club Park. “We kept getting more money andmore money and more money.”

The cash cow would be present as area teams and sponsors raised$26,200- the most ever in the event’s seven-year history.

“The people in this part of the state have just seemed to keepthe spirit of our mission and are sincere about raising money (fora good cause),” Walsh said. “It’s really encouraging to theMake-A-Wish Foundation.”

Walsh added that strong participation, two new sponsors and onegenerous school helped make the difference in this year’sevent.

Enterprise Attendance Center, with roughly 800 students, took ina lot of milk money – 14,400 quarters or $3,600 to wash away theirgoal of $500.

Also, the school held a paper chain contest between grades andsold links for 25 cents. The result was $618 in their first depositfor the fundraiser.

“This is the first time I’ve done this and I just went with it,”said senior Haley White. “It turned out better than I could haveever imagined.”

The fundraising would continue throughout the night, as armbandswould be sold for $15. The bracelets would be the tickets to fun,allowing participants to ride the attractions at the park allevening long.

The money raised will help grant wishes for area childrenparticipating in the program.

“With the number of wishes we have pending, this will reallyhelp grant wishes for children that have been waiting too long,”said Walsh.

The average cost of a wish is $5,000, and Walsh said the wishescan give the children the strength needed to get through difficulttimes.

“We always focus on hope; they will recover and go on to live awonderful life,” said Walsh. “This event will make some wisheshappen.”

Wishes do not only help children, but their families aswell.

“The families go through so much, this kind of boosts theirspirits,” said Tina Martin. “You’ve got so many people that care,donate and spend their time.”

Even when the last armband is bought, the fundraiser will not beover.

David Martin will be hosting a turkey shoot in Sandy Hook Nov.11 through 13. For more information, contact Martin at601-695-1264.

While it was challenging to beat the $19,000 total last year,Walsh added that it is rewarding to raise money for children’swishes.

“It’s a lot of work, but it makes you feel like your hard workhas paid off,” she said.