TAMPA – Kids Wish Network recently held its first dual event fundraiser Team Wish Challenge and An Evening of Enchantment gala on March 10, to help make even more dreams come true for children with terminal illnesses. Members of the local business community first gathered for Team Wish Challenge, a series of team-building activities including rock climbing, the high ropes course and crazy corporate canoeing at USF’s Riverfront Challenge Course. The teams were led by celebrity team captains comprised of local media personalities and sports figures. In the evening, guests indulged in An Evening of Enchantment, an elegant black tie gala at the Wyndham Westshore hotel, with fine dining, entertainment, auctions and actual wishes coming true.
While everyone involved with Team Wish Challenge was a winner, team sponsors XO Communications came in first place, Boston Cooker placed second, the Oldsmar chamber placed third and Kids Wish Network’s team came in fourth out of 16 teams. Everyone gave generously of their energy and spirit to prove working together makes more kids’ wishes come true.
Gala Emcees Jack Harris of 970WFLA and Martie Tucker of ABC28 made the evening fun, exciting and a heartfelt tribute to the kids. “Wish Child” Travis, a 3-year-old living with a cancerous kidney tumor, was granted a trip to Give Kids the World, a magical resort that caters to the unique needs of children living with life threatening illnesses. The second wish of the evening was received by Matthew, an 8-year-old with leukemia. He was granted a lifelong wish to go to Space Camp and the Kennedy Space Center to see a launch. Also a big Bucs fan, Matthew was thrilled to be escorted by four Bucs players to receive his special wish.
The Team Wish Challenge experience was donated by Eddy Lyons of Team Experience. A special thanks to our lead sponsor Verizon Wireless and contributing sponsors, Time Warner, ABC28, 970WFLA, 620WDAE, Bay News 9, WQYK; members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers including Martin Gramatica, Aaron Stecker, Chris Daniels, Todd Yoder, Blake Spence, Dave Gibson; and additional celebrity captains, Jeff Carlson, former Buc and weekend anchor of Sports Connection on Bay News 9, Tina Langley from WQYK, Darek Sharp of 620WDAE and Bob Kendrick, Brendan McLaughlin, Denis Phillips and Sarina Fazan from ABC28.
The gala was a truly magical evening for everyone in attendance who experienced the joy of making a sick child’s dream come true. The outstanding community involvement and support we received for both events contributed to our “sold-out” success, a necessity for our continued growth. On behalf of all the kids whose wishes will now come true, we extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of our gracious contributors and sponsors.
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of their wish granting services, please call (813)891-9374 or toll free at (888)918-9004. You can also visit its web site at www.kidswishnetwork.org.