A group of local women is raising money to sponsor three wishes through Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina.
Wonder Women Wish Warriors is a group of about 28 women who live in North Raleigh and Wake Forest who used to volunteer together for their chilren’s various school fundraisers. After their kids finished high school, they wanted to stick together to support a cause.
They decided on the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an international nonprofit founded in 1980 that sponsors experiences – “wishes” – for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
“We just want to help and give back,” said Leslie Damiano, chief organizer. “We’re all very thankful and blessed to have healthy kids.”
As mothers, “we understand what a huge blessing it is to have healthy children,” Damiano said. “When you get older, you realize how fortunate you are to have healthy adult children.”
In February, the group launched a website and Facebook page and set a goal to raise $22,500 by the end of the year – enough to sponsor about three “wishes” through Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, which is in Morrisville. The fundraising effort is part of the chapter’s Women Inspiring Strength and Hope program.
The local chapter spans 49 counties and has granted more than 2,900 wishes since it began in 1986. It has received referrals for nearly 300 children who meet the criteria but currently has money to grant 200 wishes, said Jerry Peters, vice president of brand advancement at Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina.
An average wish costs $7,500, he said.
“The money that these women are raising helps us grant wishes,” Peters said. “At Make-A-Wish, it comes down to the impact of a wish. These kids don’t live ‘normal lives.’ A wish kind of brings that back to them.”
Medical professionals, social workers and parents or guardians can refer children ages 2 1/2 to 18 to Make-A-Wish.
Damiano has a personal connection to the nonprofit. Her niece, who has aplastic anemia, a condition in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells, had a wish granted through a chapter in Maine.
Wonder Women Wish Warriors have already raised more than $16,000 from local events and fundraisers, including a flea market and prom dress sale.
The group is gearing up for its final event of the year on Dec. 1. Wonderland of Wine and Wishes, a shopping and social event at Wakefield Plantation in North Raleigh, will feature a silent auction, raffle and more than 30 vendors. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and are available at http://squ.re/2eiSlgs.
Donations are also accepted through the website.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler