On-the-spot granting of wish marks organization’s 20th year

Posted Aug. 28, 2012, at 12:14 p.m.
Kiara, 5, of Ellsworth shows her delight at having her wish to visit Walt Disney World granted during Make-A-Wish Maine's 20th anniversary celebration recently. Soon afterward she was in a limousine with her family on the way to the airport to begin her trip.
Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish
Kiara, 5, of Ellsworth shows her delight at having her wish to visit Walt Disney World granted during Make-A-Wish Maine's 20th anniversary celebration recently. Soon afterward she was in a limousine with her family on the way to the airport to begin her trip.

ROCKPORT, Maine — Twenty years ago, a group of compassionate local people led by the Morong and Bresnahan families gathered around a table and decided Maine children with life-threatening medical conditions should have the chance to escape into the magic of having their greatest wish granted. They researched, gathered support and launched the Maine chapter of Make-A-Wish.

These founders celebrated the nonprofit’s 20th anniversary and the granting of 1,000 wishes to Maine children at the recent 2012 Make-A-Wish Maine Fantasy Auction at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

“I am continued to be overwhelmed with gratitude at the continued support the Maine chapter of Make-A-Wish receives,” said Caroline Morong, founder of Make-A-Wish Maine. “Many of our attendees have come to every auction over the past 20 years because they truly understand the power of a wish and the difference it makes in the lives of these amazing children.”

In the early days, the group took wish granting upon themselves and traveled up and down the state to meet with children in their homes and at hospitals. Now, the organization has grown to a staff of six and more than 200 volunteers who help bring hope and joy to approximately 80 children per year.

“It was so heartening to see a ballroom full of people who were all captivated by the power of this magical mission. We are very grateful to the community for this wonderful tribute to our founders, our organization and especially our more than 1,000 wish kids from all corners of the state,” said Tom Peaco, executive director of Make-A-Wish Maine.

The auction that evening raised $191,000 to grant 31 wishes.

Special guest of honor at the event was Kiara, 5, of Ellsworth, who learned that her wish to go to Walt Disney World would start then and there as she was applauded, showered with confetti and whisked away to the airport by limousine.

Make-A-Wish Maine grants a wish to another Maine child approximately every five days. The average cash cost of each wish is approximately $6,000.

Make-A-Wish Maine auction sponsors were Pen Bay Women’s Imaging, Wayfarer Marine, Viking Lumber, O’Hara Corp., Camden National Bank, Prock Marine Co., athenahealth, Boston Financial, PALS for Living, Phi Home Design, Rockport Steel, Yachting Solutions and design partner Cushman Creative.

Auction committee members who helped make the auction possible included co-chairwomen Caroline Morong and Meredith Leiter, and Mimi Steadman, Jennifer Mirabile, Sue Wootton, Becky Gamage, Karan Cushman, Katherine Morong, and Paula and Neal Williamson.

For information, call 800-491-3171 or email wishme@maine.wish.org.

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