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BIG Wish Gala makes dreams come true

  • Tom-Waggoner-Alexis-Waggoner-Karen-mathison

    From left, Tom Waggoner, Alexis Waggoner, and Karen Mathison at United Way of Greater Toledo's annual meeting and recognition event.

  • SOC-wish07p-Parker-and-Holly-Kollars

    Make-A-Wish child Parker, 5, is all dressed up with his mother, Holly Kollars, for the Make-A-Wish foundation benefit.

    THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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  • Sara-and-Li-Yu-and-Deitra-Hickey

    From left, Sara Yu and her husband Li Yu, owners of Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar, with Deitra Hickey, owner of Serenity Health and Wellness Center, hosted the 2013 charity event for autism.

SOC-wish07p-Parker-and-Holly-Kollars

Make-A-Wish child Parker, 5, is all dressed up with his mother, Holly Kollars, for the Make-A-Wish foundation benefit.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Make-a-Wish BIG Wish Gala: Making Wishes Come True presented by Toledo Refining Company was Feb. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg at Levis Commons. The event celebrated 30 years of the national organization's mission of granting wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions.

Emcee Abby Powell Turpin of WNWO-TV, Channel 24, welcomed everyone. Ron White, governance board member, talked about the organization's mission. After a gourmet dinner and silent auction, auctioneer Pam Rose enticed the nearly 300 attendees to bid. Inspiring bids was honorary wish child Connor, 8, who is battling bone cancer and whose wish to go to Walt Disney World Resort was granted. His father, Dave Bell, told of the hope that the wish experience gave his family.

PHOTO GALLERY: BIG Wish Gala

An estimated $120,000 was raised at the event. Major sponsors included WNWO, Ronald White, Sylvania Pediatric Dental Care, Fifth Third Bank, RMF Nooter, and Baker Hughes Company.

The BIG Wish Gala committee included Brent Vogel, Leslie Harst, Barbara Rivas, Alia Wolaver, Christine Benner, Emily Logan, Sarah Gruss, and Brittany Costa.

The local chapter, which is the largest in the country, fulfilled 865 wishes last year. There are 87 northwest Ohio children waiting for their wishes to come true. To volunteer, contribute, or donate frequent flier miles, go to makeawishohio.org or call 1-877-206-9474.

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