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Make-a-Wish Gala at Balboa Bay Resort Raises $800K to Grant Children’s Wishes

Make-a-Wish gala décor

Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire hosted its annual gala, “The Make-A-Wish Gala: An Evening in Monaco,” at the beautiful Balboa Bay Resort in October in Newport Beach.

More than 300 guests attended the gala, which raised more than $800,000 for local wishes.

Attendees were part of the magic as the chapter shared a magnificent milestone in its 40-year history by granting what represents its 8,000th wish. Guests witnessed the wish experience from beginning to end, gaining a deeper understanding of how a child’s one true wish is discovered and the integral roles who bring it to life.

The milestone wish was granted to 10-year-old Xayden, who bravely completed his treatment for leukemia and had been on his wish journey for over a year. He was stunned to see his story come to life as the community behind his medical treatment and those involved in discovering his wish were sitting among the crowd. The real surprise for everyone came as a crate sporting a large lime green bow approached the stage revealing Xayden’s granted wish—a puppy!

Gloria Jetter Crockett (Make-A-Wish President and CEO) with wish alum Addison

Xayden’s wish was brought to life with the help of the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, Orange County Fire Department, John Wayne Airport, Southwest Airlines and Harbor Patrol.

“This year’s gala was monumental for our chapter as we commemorated 40 years of granting hope-filled wishes and celebrated the milestone representing our 8,000th wish among our community of partners, donors, volunteers and wish families,” said Gloria Jetter Crockett, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. “The wish experience is incredibly powerful for our wish kids, and we wanted our guests to feel the profound impact they help create with their continued support. We are so grateful for generosity of our supporters to raise more than $800,000 to fulfill wishes for children across Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.”

Upon arrival to the Balboa Bay Resort, guests were transported to Monaco, one of the world’s most elite destinations through an elegant cocktail reception.

Carry Ferry (presenting sponsor), RJ and Adrienne Brandes

Attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner followed by the evening’s program emceed by KTLA Midday Anchor and Reporter Glen Walker. The “Wish Wednesday” host was also joined by Linda Pauling, the mother of Chris Grecious, whose granted wish to be a police officer inspired the founding of the Make-A-Wish organization. Sharing Chris’ story, Linda also spoke about the impact of the first official wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to Frank “Bopsy” Salazar, which was fulfilled right here in Orange County.

During cocktail hour, guests enjoyed the musical stylings of wish alum “Shane the DJ” for the second year in a row. Shane knows the power of a wish firsthand as his wish for professional DJ equipment was granted through Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. During the evening, a beautiful pair of flower stud diamond earrings at $25,000 donated by Lugano Diamonds was raffled off to one lucky winner. Guests also bid on auction items like a Saint Laurent crossbody bag, a 4-night stay in Mexico City, sports tickets and other items.

Sherry Buchbinder, President, Founder and CEO of Barker Dog Foundation with David Brown and Linda Pauling, Make-A-Wish Founder

“What an honor to spend the evening with so many supporters celebrating the power of a wish! As a volunteer wish granter myself, I know firsthand how the community has come together to make wishes come true,” said Shari Simmons, event co-chair.

The Make-A-Wish Gala: An Evening In Monaco was presented by the Anthony and Carie Ferry Foundation and sponsored by the Disneyland Resort along with contributions of many more local supporters to help make wishes come true every day.

Rachel and Brandon Holdridge

A wish makes a lasting impact, bringing hope and strength to families who need it most. According to the Wish Impact Study, 90 percent of medical providers saw an increase in compliance with treatment from children after learning they would receive a wish. Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire is making strides to grant the wishes of the over 500 kids in waiting.

To learn more about Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire, visit

Mark Carlos and Joone Kim-Lopez

The post Make-a-Wish Gala at Balboa Bay Resort Raises $800K to Grant Children’s Wishes appeared first on Newport Beach News.

Source: Newport Beach Independent

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