Restaurants team for Aug. 8 Make-A-Wish benefitWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
About 30 local restaurants will offer a chance to sample their delicacies at the Make-A-Wish Holland Gardens Night Out on Aug. 8.
“There’s just a good vibe about the whole event,” said Ellie McManus, development officer for Make-A-Wish of Northwest Ohio. “It’s so grassroots that it’s like a movement. It’s so cool.”
Lynne Carroll, life enrichment director for Arbors at Sylvania, organizes the event and gets restaurants to come on board. She started the first event in 2006 after encountering a distraught woman at Kroger.
“She was sobbing,” Carroll recalled. Carroll learned the woman’s child had osteosarcoma, a bone tumor.
“Being a parent myself I was like, ‘What can I do?’” Carroll said. Since then, she has worked tirelessly in support of Make-A-Wish.
The organization is behind on granting 80 wishes, so community events like Carroll’s are a big help, McManus said.
“We’ve been encouraging community members to host events to raise funds to benefit Make-A-Wish,” she said. “[Carroll’s] just such a hard worker and so loyal and dedicated and she’ll just do anything to make it successful.”
The last event raised about $15,000, a number Carroll hopes to double. Each wish costs about $7,500 with airfare being a major expense.
“I want to grant as many wishes as possible,” Carroll said. A suggested donation of $10 at the door is recommended for the event, which will also feature a cash bar, entertainment and an auction offering hotel stays, private dinners, massages and jewelry,
The participating restaurants range from independent Toledo eateries like Rockwell’s, ICE Restaurant and Bar and Bar 145 to national chains like Panera Bread, Applebee’s and Don Pablo’s.
“This is up there with Taste of the Nation, without $150 to get in,” Carroll said.
Applebee’s will present Make-A-Wish with about $9,000 raised from its Make-A-Wish star promo, where customers could purchase paper stars after their meals.
“Applebee’s is so better than spectacular to us,” McManus said. Don Pablo’s also has a special promotion where any extra change thrown in the courtyard fountains of the Mexican restaurants is donated to Make-A-Wish. This raises about $100 every month.
According to studies, children whose wishes are granted perform better and accept their medical treatment better, McManus said. Recently granted wishes include a girl swimming with dolphins and a boy who wanted his own special space. “We did a huge room redo. The whole basement had a room redone for him, kind of like a man/boy cave. He loves it,” McManus said. She estimated that her chapter has granted about 70 wishes this year.
Carroll has a new understanding of Make-A-Wish parents. Last year, her then 23-year-old daughter, Amy Radecki, returned from a trip with a painful neck and shoulders and a swollen left arm.
She was diagnosed with a rare condition with an extra rib pinching an artery, which caused blood clots. She is now OK after treatment, but Carroll said, “Now I really know how parents feel because I almost lost my own daughter last year.”
The support of Carroll and the restaurants means a lot to Make-A-Wish, McManus said.
“Northwest Ohio is just amazing. It’s such a giving and kind, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of place to live and I’m just so proud of all of the assistance that we get. It just means so much to us,” she said.
Make-A-Wish Holland Gardens Night Out is 6-8 p.m. Aug. 8 at Holland Gardens, 6530 Angola Road. To become involved with your own event, contact McManus at EllieM@makeawishohio.org.