A walk to help grant wishes for Connecticut children battling life-threatening medical conditions will not only help raise money for that cause, but give one little girl the chance to have her own wish granted at the event.
The annual Walk for Wishes is a fundraising event for Make-A-Wish Connecticut. The uncompetitive one-mile walk will be held at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport on May 10 with volunteers, donors, people who received a wish previously and those waiting to have their wish granted.
"It's going to be a great night," said Michael Dominick, who is the community and media relations manager at Make-A-Wish Connecticut.
After the walk is finished, all those in attendance will surprise one lucky 7-year-old girl as her wish will be granted live at the walk.
"She has no idea," Dominick said.
People will cheer and hold up signs while horns blurr as a limousine arrives at the venue. She and her family will be taken by a limousine to the airport where she will be flown to Disney Cruise.
"She loves the princesses and she loves Minnie Mouse," Dominick said. "And she loves the sun, so Disney Cruise seems like the right combination."
One of the emcees for the walk, WFSB traffic reporter Nicole Nalepa, said the event "appealed to her because she did volunteer work in college with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while serving on her class council."
"We were able to raise enough money to grant a wish for an amazing and brave little girl who was battling a life-threatening illness. I saw firsthand the amazing work the Make-A-Wish Foundation does, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the 'Walk for Wishes' walk," Nalepa said.
Nalepa, who is emceeing along with WFSB Jason Frazer, said she looks forward to meeting Connecticut residents, "who are willing to dedicate their time and efforts to this amazing cause."
"In addition, I cannot wait to meet past Wish Kids and their families, and hear their courageous stories," Nalepa said.
People can start registering for the event around 4:30 p.m. with the walk starting around 5:30 p.m. Participants will be able to register up to the day of the event, officials said.
Registration includes "entrance to the zoo, parking and access to the private, exclusive surprise Wish Celebration." The zoo will be shut down for only the Make-A-Wish people, Dominick said.
"This is an event that people really don't want to miss," Dominick said. "It's a great way to be a part of a wish come true and share the power of the wish."
Anyone who raises a minimum of $25, you will receive a special wish kit that includes items for the wish celebration while anyone that donates $100 or more will be given an exclusive event T-shirt.
Make-A-Wish is privately funded nonprofit and does not receive any state and federal funding.
"Every dollar that you can donate goes into making these wishes come true," Dominick said.
Dominick said 82 cents of every dollar raised by Make-A-Wish goes to the wishes. The average cost of a wish in Connecticut is $10,000, according to Dominick.
"It takes a lot to complete that mission," Dominick said.
Dominick said that Make-A-Wish is granting on average 150 wishes per year and "are working hard to reach 170 wishes this year."
"If everyone gives a little, it turns into a very large group effort," Dominick said.
For more information and to register for the walk, click here.
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