The 20th annual A Wish Come True Polar Plunge raised nearly $80,000 and generated more than 6,000 supporters, who braved the water on Easton’s Beach in Newport on January 1st.
The numerous people and funds raised from the event were both records. Their previous marks were $42,000 raised and 5,000 attendees, respectively. Among the beneficiaries were two “Wish Kids” who will be going to Florida with their families. Sofia from Warwick and Graciela from West Kingstown will visit Disney World later this year.
A Wish Come True Executive Director Mary-Kate O’Leary said that the outpouring of donations from the public and business communities will help sixteen wish children, as well as help their mission moving forward.
“It was just a wonderful day all around,” said O’Leary, who appropriately wore a superhero costume to commemorate the ‘Plunge.’ “We received the gift of great weather, the outpouring of people who wanted to help us, and those companies that provided some financial backing to our event and cause. We had many new donors this year. That will aid in our planning for our upcoming events.”
Indeed, there were dozens of local businesses that lent their time and efforts through donations, in-kind services, and outreach.
The event’s presenting sponsor, Massey and Associates, had a particular reason for contributing. Owner and Founder Jeff Massey said, “The need to support other causes such as A Wish Come True is always great from that perspective. Chief among them is seeing how the mission positively impacts those affected. Plus, it provides a face or a voice to people who may not otherwise give it a second thought.”
Massey added, “The way in which his Warwick-based wealth management firm helps out makes the recent event all the more heartwarming.”
“When you see the look on a child’s face, and they are smiling, that is a look that I personally want to see,” he said. “There are many reasons for anyone to contribute to their favorite cause. I started attending these events and realized that our firm could make a valuable contribution to this organization.”
Part of this event had another inspirational moment. “Wish Kid, Graciela, was one of the first people to take the Plunge with her family. There were two great symbolic moments in this: first, if she could brave the water, then, anybody could, and second, she and her family had the backing of the entire community behind them.
Sofia of Warwick, RI, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia back in July of 2022. She is on an aggressive chemo cycle every three weeks to help her fight off the cancer.
Sofia loves arts and crafts – especially drawing and painting. She also loves to shop at Target and play with her dog and bunny! Sofia is excited to spend quality time with her family and to make awesome memories in Disney and SeaWorld!
Graciela of West Kingston, RI, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She was a micro-premie and twin survivor, being born at 23 weeks old and weighing 1.2 pounds. She spent the first five months of her life in the NICU. Graciela has had 11 surgeries and countless procedures, including a stem cell transplant at 2 ½ years old.
This year, the organization challenged companies and individuals to form teams to raise money. Any team that raised at least $1,000 will be entered to win a $1,500 prize!
The group from Laborers District Council and Local 1322 were the recipients of the prize. In the spirit of giving, the group donated the funds back to A Wish Come True!
For anyone that missed out on the Plunge, A Wish Come True has another opportunity for the community to get involved.
Their annual “Shamrocks and Shenanigans” event takes place on Wednesday, March 15, at Venus De Milo, 75 GAR Highway, Swansea, Ma. The festivities begin at 5:30pm, with dinner starting at 6:00pm.
In addition to dinner and dancing, with music provided by Rugburn, there will be a performance by Comedian David Kane. His “Misgivings” show is “a divine comedy of belly laughs, blessings, blarney, and bingo.”
Tickets are $45 in advance and $60, if sold after February 15th. Tables may be purchased for $500.
Learn more and register today by visiting their website at www.awish.org.
About A Wish Come True.
A Wish Come True, Inc. is a non-profit 501©(3) organization founded on October 8, 1982. Their mission is to provide wishes and resources to families with a child (ages 3-18), suffering with a life-threatening illness that live throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.
For more details about the organization, including either donating or donating, please visit their website at www.awish.org. Or, contact Mary-Kate O’Leary either by phone at 401-781-9199, directly at 401-644-2237 or email at: email@example.com.