On Saturday, March 25th, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York celebrated the chapter’s 30th anniversary at the sold-out 2017 Gala at the Hall of Springs.
The evening marked the chapter’s biggest Gala yet, when more than 500 guests joined in to celebrate the record of 101 wishes granted last year, as well as the nearly 1,700 wishes granted over the past 30 years by the Northeast New York chapter.
The night featured delicious food, great music, and inspiring stories! This year’s Wish Ambassadors were Landon, 11, of Troy; Hannah, 5, of Schenectady; Kacey, 18, of South Glens Falls; and Gannon, 5, of Ballston Spa. Those four helped with the official send-off of a wish child who will soon be going on a Disney cruise. Cameron, 5, of Indian Lake, NY, was presented with a captain’s hat from a real boat captain, J.D. Ellingsworth, while the ambassadors presented him with cruise essentials such as Disney swim trunks, binoculars, and a set of “floaties” as all the guests wished him a “bon voyage!”
Linda Pauling, the featured speaker, shared her story of being the first wish mom and co-founder of Make-A-Wish, and how she never could have predicted the impact her son’s wish would have on creating awareness for children with catastrophic illnesses around the world.
Also speaking was Wish Ambassador Landon, who fearlessly stood at the podium and told his story of traveling to Italy to be blessed by the Pope. The night also included silent and live auctions, a “Fund-A-Wish” segment, an outstanding dinner, as well as dancing into the night. This year, guests bid on silent auction items via their smartphones, which allowed even those at home to get involved with the fun.
“The evening was a fitting celebration for our 30th anniversary and the nearly 1,700 wishes we have granted to local kids and teens,” said Chapter CEO Bill Trigg. He added that the night was a special opportunity to join with donors, supporters, and the community to “celebrate how wishes transform lives, while looking ahead to an exciting future.”