You’ve got to hand it to one of our area’s favorite television personalities, WABI-TV 5 news reporter-anchor Wayne Harvey.
When he makes up his mind to do something, he does it right: He covers all the bases, so to speak.
That is why his special fund-raiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine is known as Wayne’s Wiffle for a Wish.
Wayne had the foresight, when he came up with the idea of a Wiffle Ball fundraiser for “a group of adults playing a kids’ game for kids,” he explained, that he spoke “with the president of the Wiffle Ball company, the grandson of the man who invited the Wiffle Ball,” and was given permission to use the company name and logo for his tournament.
Last year’s event raised $2,000, and now it’s time for Wayne’s Wiffle for a Wish 2010.
Wayne is expanding the tournament from 16 to 32 teams, and the entry deadline is Aug. 20 for the event beginning with registration at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at Union Street Athletics complex in Bangor.
The entry fee is $100 for a team of up to seven players, which allows for substitutions on a five-member team in case someone can’t make it to the early game or has to leave early, Wayne said.
If single players are interested, Wayne will “take the first five single players, and $20 each, and put them on a team called “The Perfect Strangers.”
All the information you need, including registration and rules, can be found at www.wiffleforawish.com.
You can also register by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 990-9025 and leaving a message.
Since it takes about $6,000 to grant a child’s wish, Wayne hopes to raise more money this year.
And while Sitewerx is the tournament’s title sponsor, “we still have corporate sponsorship opportunities,” Wayne said. So be sure to contact him if you can help.
New this year will be a raffle-auction with some great prizes including a donated 10-foot Old Town Vapor kayak, a life jacket, paddle, four tickets to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, four passes to Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor and two one-month memberships to Union Street Athletics.
A 50-50 raffle will be split with Make-a Wish, and a home-run derby at $5 for 10 swings, also is included.
Wayne has fond memories of last year’s tournament, he told me.
Players hailed from Patten to Portland, and “The Patten Slingers,” including brothers Garth McNally and Jamey McNally, brother-in-law Adam Curtis and Scott McLellan won the tournament with a 7-0 record. Garth was named the most valuable player, and the team allowed only one run.
A family who benefited from Make-A-Wish threw out the first pitch and addressed the audience, and Wayne was particularly pleased with the turnout.
With 16 teams registered, he told me, all but one “showed up to play, despite the remnants of Tropical Storm Danny,” which adversely affected nearly everything in Maine that August weekend, including the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.
So, here’s Wayne Harvey, raising money for Make-A-Wish, and my question is: Why? Why this organization?
The answer might not be what you think.
The Harveys have three little girls.
The firstborn was “healthy and happy and, to this day, has only been to the doctor three times” with ear infections and strep throat, her daddy said. Their third child is equally healthy.
But their second daughter, born in 2004, had her first medical procedure at 9 weeks, followed by three more surgeries and “countless doctors’ visits and tests” since then, Wayne said.
She is, however, not in a life-threatening situation, and the Harveys took her home after each procedure.
However, while they were going through these very trying experiences, Wayne realized “nothing we were dealing with was a true threat to take our little girl away from us, but we saw many other parents who were facing that very situation.”
That’s when he decided to try and help “others who [had] a situation worse than ours.”
After much thought and a final push from his wife to “shut up and do something,” he said, he decided to help children and families facing life-threatening illnesses through Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine.
After getting permission to use the official Wiffle Ball name and logo, Wayne approached the city of Bangor, which “allowed me to use their facilities, free of charge, and we were ready to go,” he said.
Now he’s ready to go again.
All he needs is you.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; email@example.com; 990-8288.