Zenoids Doing Good: Where Wishes Always Win

This spring, we enjoyed a big win for the Wish Ball - Make-A-Wish Illinois’ annual signature black-tie gala. As a result of the dedicated work of many all-star volunteers and staff, we celebrated the most successful Wish Ball to date – raising $1.4 million.  These funds, will grant children across Illinois with life-threatening medical conditions, life-changing experiences. As a returning Co-Chair, I was grateful to have bench support of my fellow Zenoids Andrea Abate, Amanda Coyne, and Karli Nutter who helped with media outreach and on-site event oversight.

(L to R) – Leah Rosenfeld, Amanda Coyne, Seth Meyers, Andrea Abate, Karli Nutter   

The event drew 940 guests at the legendary Soldier Field where all enjoyed a seated dinner, a raffle driven by Wish Ambassador wish children, live and silent auctions, as well as a performance by the Chicago Bears drum line. The evening was capped off as Emmy winner and comedian Seth Meyers took the stage with his witty and charming performance followed by guests dancing the night away on the 50-yard line.

Wish Ball tent on the field at Soldier Field 

Soldier Field was a strategic and fitting choice for the gala’s theme – sports – as so many wishes fulfilled are sports-related. This year, Allison Rosati and Peggy Kusinski from NBC 5 Chicago helped honor Chicago’s professional sports teams for their work in bringing hope, strength and joy to countless children. Representatives from the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox were in attendance to accept awards and Chicago’s Blackhawk Captain Jonathan Toews sent a special video message to the wish parent keynote speaker and her son, James, whose wish was granted by the Blackhawks last year.

Staley the Bear, Seth Meyers, Wish Ambassador James Ensign, Tommy Hawk  

Some of the biggest Wish Ball 2014 wins in my scorebook?

  • Feedback from the mother of a Wish Ambassador, who, after several interviews and photographer visits from their local papers about her son’s role at Wish Ball, shared that “it was like his wish all over again.”
  • Make-A-Wish Illinois will grant more than 700 wishes to children across the state this year, much to the contribution of this event.
  • Wish Ball was ranked #7 of the top 100 Chicago events in the city by top industry outlet BizBash.

Yeah, I’d say we knocked it out of the park!!

For more Wish Ball 2014 photos, check out the Make-A-Wish Illinois, Wish Ball Facebook album, and Flickr page. For more information on how you can get involved, visit http://illinois.wish.org/ or follow @WishIllinois