ATLANTA, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta was host to this past Saturday's Annual Celebration of Wishes. The black-tie Gala celebrated the many wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation(R) of Georgia and Alabama in 2006. Held at The Intercontinental Hotel, approximately 400 attendees filled the ballroom to experience a magical evening. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20061115/CLW075 ) Celebration of Wishes Results The second annual Celebration of Wishes raised more than $300,000 through corporate sponsorships, live and silent auctions and donations. More than 100 live and silent auction packages were donated for the Gala. Wish Granted at Gala The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life- threatening medical conditions. The Foundation grants four types of wishes: "I wish to go ... ," "I wish to be ... ," "I wish to meet..." or "I wish to have ... ." Attendees of the Atlanta Gala experienced a live wish in the making. Seven-year old Jordan Holmes from Austell, Georgia wished to be a dancer. Therefore, Make-A-Wish helped fulfill that dream by aligning her with the Price Performing Arts Center for regular dance lessons, and to also prepare her for the big Gala performance. Jordan suffers from sickle-cell anemia, a genetic blood disorder that deprives the organs of oxygen and causes her body a great deal of pain. The Gala also featured personalized video messages including: - A welcome message from American Idol host and Atlanta-native Ryan Seacrest - A "shout-out" from Atlanta-native Ludacris to Jordan - A "shout-out" from renowned country music legends Brooks & Dunn "The Celebration of Wishes was a phenomenal success. Not only did we grant a spectacular wish for Jordan, but we raised money for further wish granting in Georgia and Alabama," said P.J. White, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama. "As we celebrate the amazing stories of our wish children, we thank our sponsors and individuals who supported this gala and wish granting with their gifts of money, time and effort." Gala Honorees Three Georgia-based recipients received special recognition at the Gala. They included: William L. "Bill" Smith, "Power of a Wish" Award This award recognizes a person who has exhibited outstanding leadership over an extended period of time to help the Chapter expand its ability to deliver on the mission to serving wish children. Smith is immediate past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation for Georgia and Alabama. He served as a board member for the past six years and has been integral in securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for wish granting. He has also been responsible for lighting up the entire BellSouth building in downtown Atlanta during the Annual Stories of Light campaign. Smith is also Chief Technology Officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corporation. Marc Lefar, "Debbie Tillman" Award One of the Chapter founders and first Chairperson was Debbie Tillman. This award was established in her honor and it recognizes an outstanding member of the Board of Directors for their dedication. Lefar is the Chief Marketing Officer for Atlanta-based Cingular Wireless. Jimmy Carson, "Hope, Strength and Joy" Award This award recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has helped deliver "hope" through their wish granting work, "strength through their fundraising initiatives and "joy" through their commitment to the Chapter's mission. Carson has volunteered with the Chapter for the past five years. Carson is the Marketing Manager for Holcim Inc, the second largest supplier of cement in the world. He resides in Augusta, Georgia. The Gala committee was made up of auction, decorating, hosting, sponsorship and marketing committee members. Chaired by George Georgiou, Senior Vice President of Florida-based Butler Telecom and Honorary Chairpersons Kim and Tim Hudson of Peachtree City, Georgia, the Gala committee helped make the evening a star-studded event. Tim Hudson is also a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. Committee Chairpersons included: - AUCTION: Martha Baumgartner of Sandy Springs and Anne Jones of Kennessaw, Georgia - DECORATIONS: Cynthia Allison of Conley, Georgia - HOST: Vicki Bitzis of Dunwoody and Rhona Tiongson-Federer, M.D. of Dunwoody, Georgia - PUBLIC RELATIONS: Jennifer Bowcock of Jackson, Georgia - SPONSORSHIP: Kristine Marchbanks of Norcross, Georgia About Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama - Established in 1995; currently employees 20 full-time employees - In 2006, they granted more than 400 wishes in two states - Each wish granted averaged approximately $6,000 - Seventy-eight percent of the Chapter's donations are used for wish- granting - The Chapter has hundreds of regional volunteers The Make-A-Wish Foundation is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 69 Chapters in the United States and its territories. Granting more than 12,500 wishes a year and 141,000 wishes in the United States since inception, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants one wish every 41 minutes. *Photos available upon request.
SOURCE Make-A-Wish Foundation