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Scan to see Benton’s training video!


Benton, 6

acute lymphoblastic leukemia

I wish to be a Jedi


From the CEO and Board Chair

our young Jedi Knight, Benton, battled the dark force of Darth Vader and saved everyone at the gala. The crowd joined in as he received a special ceremony to knight him as our hero. We are thankful for all who generously gave of their time and treasure that night as this year’s Evening of Wishes gala raised more than $270,000 for our wish children! Fiscal Year 2014 is shaping up nicely as we have completed our first quarter on target to grant more than 330 wishes by the end of the year! More wishes means more volunteers needed, so we recently created a new volunteer department that will help us get additional wish granters, especially in our more remote areas. The quarter saw many special wishes come true for children in our community. In September, we worked closely with the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Police Department to give Alex his wish to be a superhero! This was an incredible partnership for which we are very grateful! Our second annual Evening of Wishes gala was a great success with a sell-out crowd. Audience members watched as

“You brought back a piece of what he lost during his journey.” Benton’s mom, Patricia

Finally, as the quarter drew to a close, we had the honor of fulfilling a wedding wish for an incredible young lady. It was Leslie’s wish to marry Daniel, her high school sweetheart, and have celebrity party planner David Tutera plan her wedding. Leslie’s wish was granted on Nov. 21 as David gave her the wedding of her dreams! Leslie recently lost her battle with her leukemia, but her memory lives on through all who were touched by her bravery and the bravery of Daniel, her new husband. A wish granted is a powerful and magical thing – thank you all for helping us create this magic every day for these incredible children and their families! Stephanie McCormick President & CEO

On the cover

Ferril Onyett Board Chair Special thanks to the following groups for helping to make Benton’s wish possible:

President & CEO Stephanie McCormick Finance & Administration: Jeff Wacha, Director of Finance Evelyn Morad, Office Manager Maria Ruvalcaba, Operations Assistant Rossana Powell, Receptionist Program Services Department: Christina Sandoval, Program Services Manager Monica Fierro, Asst. Program Services Manager Michelle Cuellar, Senior Wish Coordinator Heather Craven, Wish Coordinator Lillianna Gomez, Program Coordinator Rachel Messina, Program Coordinator Monica Cabral, Wish Assist Supervisor Angela Pueblos, Wish Assist Coordinator Development Department: Sarah Pizzaruso, Director of Development Rebecca Kwait, OC Development Manager Francine Gobert, IE Development Manager Tina Robinette, Senior Development Coordinator Christine Gaxiola, Donor Care Susan Brand, Development Associate

Volunteer Department: Melissa Gallagher, Volunteer Manager Marissa Euperio, Volunteer Coordinator Board of Directors: Ferril Onyett, Chair Sieg Weber, Vice Chair Melvin Tobaru, Secretary John Link, Treasurer Jeff Larson, Development Committee Chair Mike Lednovich, Audit Committee Chair Kathleen Bardsley, Director Joan Donnellan, Director Michael Hickman, Director Janine McDonald, Director Kimberly Motta, MD, Director John Ott, Director Michael Rapacz, Director Jessica Reicher, Director Terri Sacks, Director Mike Shapiro, Director JC Timmons, Director Pamela Wasley, Director Cheryl Watton, Director

Benton defeats Darth Vader and becomes a Jedi Knight Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far, far away, it is a period of hope, strength and joy for a young Padawan named Benton who has wished to learn the ways of a Jedi. Many times, Benton has battled the Dark Side with a lightsaber in a world of fantasy at his house. But it’s been a very real battle for Benton over the last three years as he has been in treatment for leukemia. “He so enjoys Star Wars and has so many times been a Jedi in our house with his brother,” said Benton’s father, Bill. “I think that the idea of being a Jedi represents escape and the ultimate display of fantasy for him.” At the Jedi training center, Jedi Masters from across the galaxy assembled to train Benton in

the ways of the Force, including the skills and techniques of the lightsaber, the philosophy and methods of the Jedi and a special skill known as a Force Push used to defend oneself against villains and users of the the Dark Side. “The ability to perform on a large scale what he’s always wanted to do – he didn’t think this was fantasy,” Bill said. “He really thought this was real.” But if Benton thought his wish was over after that day of training, it was because nobody could imagine what would happen at the 2nd annual Evening of Wishes gala held a week later to benefit Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire. While the audience enjoyed a video of Benton’s wish, the lights suddenly went out as team of Storm

Troopers and Darth Vader himself appeared to take control of the event. Thankfully, Benton and the Jedi Order were there to defend the guests. After an exciting battle, Benton used the Force Push to banish Darth Vader and save the evening. Benton’s parents watched from the audience as he followed the Jedi on stage to be knighted. “What a healing experience for Benton to see himself as a strong, courageous and skilled warrior – a Jedi,” his mom Patricia shared with Make-A-Wish after the event. “You brought back a piece of what he lost during his journey, and brought him to a land far, far away where there are no doctors, nurses or needles, and the only limits are those of his imagination.”

2013 Evening of Wishes gala raises $270,000 The 2nd annual Evening of Wishes gala was held on Oct. 25 at the beautiful Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. The evening featured an incredible silent auction of nearly 70 items and a live auction including a Tuscan getaway, a Los Cabos vacation and a unique opportunity to dine at the Wilcox Manor.

After dinner and a narrow escape from Darth Vader (see previous page), guests and storm troopers alike filled the dance floor to the tunes of Haute Chile to finish off a perfect evening! We are so thankful to all of our sponsors (listed below) including Disneyland Resort, represented by Make-A-Wish board member

and Disney Vice President of Marketing Strategy Jeff Larson (pictured above with Make-A-Wish CEO Stephanie McCormick and board president Ferril Onyett). Be sure to save the date for the 3rd Annual Evening of Wishes gala taking place Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. It is sure to be another spectacular and magical evening!



to our generous event sponsors

INVESTMENTS Sterling Search, Inc. Grant Thornton

Sheckler Foundation Cox Cares

Wish Gowns Arrowmac

Community Bank Angel Bins

Photos by Sargeant Creative

The Meyer Family 180 Business Solutions

Seven Gables Real Estate Haskell & White

Orange County Business Bank Oh My Nails!

BJ’s Restaurants d2 Business Solutions


Supportive Students & Schools Local 11-year-old raises $5,000 We were excited to honor 11-yearold Logan from Irvine this month when he reached his extraordinary goal of adopting the wish of another local child as a part of our Kids For Wish Kids program. In April of 2012, Logan decided that for his 10th birthday he would ask his friends and family to make a donation to Make-A-Wish instead of bringing him birthday presents. He even created his own children’s book complete with handdrawn artwork to give out as a thank-you gift for large donations. When Logan surpassed his goal of raising $300 and made it to $1,000, he was inspired to keep going. Since that first fundraising gesture, Logan has held fundraisers at The Lazy Dog Cafe and Jamba Juice, hosted Halloween parties with silent auctions, participated in our Walk For Wishes event and used an online fundraising page to collect donations. He also held a movie night in his neighborhood with a small entrance fee to raise funds for the wish. In November, Logan reached his goal of raising $5,000 to adopt Alex’s wish to be a superhero. After all of his hard work and collecting donations for the last two years, we thought it would be fitting for Logan to adopt this wish because he has been a superhero to Make-A-Wish!

Make-A-Wish clubs

Mr. University

Holiday events

More than 50 high schools throughout Orange County and the Inland Empire have signed on this year with a Make-A-Wish club as part of our Kids For Wish Kids program. These young leaders serve as advocates for the Make-A-Wish mission in our community as they raise funds and awareness to benefit local wish children. Special thanks to the clubs that lead this year in fundraising so far: Marina High School ($1,815), Citrus Valley High School ($1,400) and Cypress High School ($1,267)!

The Eta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi at Chapman University held its annual male beauty pageant, Mr. University, on Nov. 12 with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting MakeA-Wish. This event gets the entire Greek community involved as participants compete for the title in formal wear, state walk, talent, Q&A and fundraising! We were grateful for another year of support from this fun event and happy to be present that night with a special guest speaker – a local wish recipient who also got to serve as a guest judge!

Make-A-Wish clubs and youth volunteers are helping local wish kids by running giftwrapping and holiday fundraising tables this month! Look out for our tables throughout December at The Shops at Mission Viejo and at Westfield MainPlace mall in Santa Ana. Special thanks to all of the Make-A-Wish high school clubs volunteering this month: Marina High School, Northwood High School, Orange County School of the Arts, Beckman High School, Tesoro High School and San Juan Hills High School!

“Their resilience and strength – along with (that) of their parents and siblings – inspires me.”

Helping Hands NAME: Matthew Ferrero CITY: Orange VOLUNTEER ROLES: Wish Granter, Speaker’s Bureau Trainer Make-A-Wish relies on the skills and talents of volunteers like Mathew Ferrero, who has been involved with our chapter since 2001. We caught up with Matt to find out more about what inspired him to volunteer: How did you learn about Make-A-Wish and what prompted you to get involved? Back in 2001, I saw a Make-A-Wish calendar, which prompted me to make a contribution. I then received the quarterly newsletter in the mail and was able to learn about what the

volunteers do and why they are crucial to the Make-A-Wish mission. More than 13 years later, I’m still volunteering – and increasing my hours! What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with Make-A-Wish? I have been blessed to see the power of wishes firsthand and learned that the MakeA-Wish mission – “to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy” – is more than just words. When a child is able to articulate what they really want and then see their wish become reality, a family environment dominated by pessimism, weakness and fear is replaced with hope, strength and joy.

What keeps you coming back each year? It is humbling to work with a child facing a lifethreatening medical condition. Their resilience and strength – along with the resilience and strength of their parents and siblings – inspires me. It reminds me how fortunate I have been. I’m also privileged to help lead training sessions for our Speaker’s Bureau. This group helps immeasurably in getting out the Make-AWish message to the community – influencing others to commit to Make-A-Wish as their “charity of choice.” Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Make-A-Wish? If you think you would enjoy interacting with a diverse group of kids of all ages and their families, and like to be part of a team that helps to create magic, look into Make-A-Wish.

START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT – BECOME A VOLUNTEER! Donate your time, talent and skills to help children in your community. We have a need for event volunteers, speakers, wish granters, committee members and more!

To get started, visit

Local Wishes Leslie, 18 leukemia

I wish to have my dream wedding Charles, 6 medulloblastoma

I wish to go on a Disney Cruise

Angel, 16 skeletal malformation

I wish to meet Albert Pujols

Lauren, 7

Adrian, 4

autoimmune disease and heart transplant

I wish to go on a Disney Cruise

bone marrow transplant

I wish to have a shopping adventure

Wish Assist Each year, our chapter welcomes hundreds of children from around the world to have their wishes granted in our own backyard. These wishes are in addition to the more than 300 wishes granted for children who live in Orange County and the Inland Empire.


Isaac, age 10 – Washington

Noah, age 18 – Nebraska

I wish to go to Disneyland

I wish to go to the BLIZZCON

Jake, age 7 – Quebec I wish to go to Disneyland

Brenda, 18

Riley, 5


I wish to go to Venice, Italy

brain tumor

I wish to go to Disney World

Preston, 6 leukemia

I wish to meet my favorite country singer

Ryan, 16 leukemia

I wish to meet the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines Joey, 13 VATER syndrome

I wish to meet the cast of my favorite TV show

Katherine, 8 malignant brain tumor

I wish to have a princess party

Ian, 8 hematologic disorder

I wish to go to San Diego

Visit to see Alex’s wish come true!

“It’s indescribable. To see my son have his wish come true – it makes everything in my life perfect. To see him smile and to see him have fun like that: As a mom, it just makes me so fulfilled. Nothing gets any better than that.” Alex, 7 leukemia

Elizabeth, Alex’s mom

I wish to be a superhero


Community Stars All In at Rolling For Wishes VI Casino Night The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa was the backdrop for the 6th annual Rolling For Wishes casino night this September. For six years, hosts Jeff Elder and Karla Kjellin-Elder have completely underwritten the expenses for this event, allowing every dollar raised to go directly to

granting wishes! Themes have ranged from Mardi Gras to Mexico, and this year’s theme (South Pacific) didn’t disappoint. Guests were entertained by a steel drum band while enjoying a full action casino, silent auction and delicious food from 24 Carrots Catering!

W.L. Butler Golf Tournament (Left) In their 7th event, W.L. Butler raised enough funds to bring their total donations to more than $600,000 since their tournament’s inception! (Pictured from left: President Frank York, pro Randall Dawson and VP Brett Crail)

I Survived Real Estate 2013 (Right) Hosted by the Norris Group, this inspirational and educational evening held at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda raised more than $85,000 for St. Jude and Make-A-Wish!

HIMSS Golf Tournament (Left) This year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society golf tournament was hosted at Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine.

Pechanga Charity Golf Classic (Right) We were thrilled to be one of three local charity beneficiaries of this two-day golf tournament hosted by the Pechanga Indian Reservation, where 300 golfers had the opportunity to meet some of our wish alumni! We are thankful for the $50,000 donation!

We are so thankful to Jeff, Karla and the Rolling For Wishes committee (Kathie Consalvi, Kim Haman, Andie Mills, Melissa Murphy, Gayle Pratt, Jackie Stewart, Birgit Nemits and Jody Theissen) for contributing more than $270,000 since the event’s inception!

Yelp OC Monster Mash Ghouls and boys supported Make-A-Wish by dressing up in their best costumes for Yelp’s Halloween-themed event at the Anaheim GardenWalk. Everyone had a spooktacular time tasting OC cuisine, watching snake belly dancers and getting frightened in the haunted house!

Carousel of Dreams The Festival of Children Foundation invited 10 OC charities to fundraise through a unique event at King Arthur’s Carrousel at Disneyland Park. Our 6 riders raised more than $20,000 while enjoying an incredible morning at the happiest place on earth!

Making Wishes Come True Remax, Star real Estate, New American Mortgage & Wells Fargo brought nearly 300 local real estate professionals together at Sea Cliff Country Club in Huntington Beach for a night of networking and fundraising for Make-A-Wish – contributing more than $27,000 to fund local wishes!

Elite OC Schmooze Cruise 200 young professionals boarded a fabulous 140-yacht to cruise around Newport Harbor for schmoozing and networking while giving back to a great cause.

Just For Kids This September, Ed Henry and Gregg Combs hosted their 5th annual Pancake Breakfast, Car Show and Golf Tournament in Apple Valley, bringing their 5 year fundraising total to more than $35,000.

Women’s Circle of Wishes hosts

This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse

The Women’s Circle of Wishes held its inaugural This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse event on November 10 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Guests had the opportunity to enjoy high tea and bid on vintage and high end bags all to raise funds for wishes. Co-chairs for the event were George Fairbanks and Lucinda Salinas. Nearly 100 guests raised almost $15,000 – thanks to all who made this first time event a fun success! Join us in spring of 2015 for our next event!

Dream Givers

Donor Spotlight – Richard & Kathy Luciano Richard and Kathy Luciano surprised all of us at the Evening of Wishes gala with an incredible donation of $50,000! “A few years ago when I first started interacting with children that had both mental and physical challenges, I realized how precious they are. It is a great experience to support Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire and observe the wonderful positive impact that the organization has on children’s lives.”

Thank you for making wishes come true We extend our deepest appreciation to the following businesses, events, foundations, individuals and youth groups that have given donations to help fulfill the dreams of our wish children. The following list represents donors who gave $1,000 or more between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2013. We apologize if we inadvertently left anyone off the list.

CORPORATE DONORS: All American Sales And Services, Inc American Security Insurance Company Anaheim Ducks Arrowmac BDS Marketing, Inc. Claudia Buys Houses Coldwell Banker Town & Country Crown Valley Holdings, LLC d2 Business Solutions Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. Elite Auctions First American Title Forum Real Estate Investments Inc. Future Ads, LLC Golden West Biologicals, Inc. Grant Thornton Hansen Beverage Company Hom Real Estate Group, Inc. Hooters Restaurants House of Seven Gables Real Estate In a Day Development


Investor Experts, Inc. John Merrill Investments, Inc. John’s Incredible Pizza Company Keystone CPA, Inc. Las Brisas Escrow, Inc. Leivas Tax Wealth Management Link, Murrel & Company, LLP MacKenzie Corporation Moonlight Associate Management Neudesic OC Investments Club FIBI Oh My Nails! Orange County Business Bank Pacific Contours Panera Bread Foundation Parker Aerospace Pechanga Resort & Casino People Clothing Co. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Primary Residential Mortgage R.M. Harmon Trustee Real Wealth Network RODA Construction San Diego Creative Investors Association Small Business Growth Alliance

(Merchant Services) Sonocoa Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors TD Ameritrade Clearing The Outspoken Investor The Walt Disney Company Foundation Thrive Financial TKK Investments LLC Tri-Emerald Financial Group Truist Altruism Connected Union Bank Western pacific Development Wilson Investment properties, Inc. Wish Gowns

EVENTS: 15th Annual Pechanga Charity Golf Classic 5th Annual Just For Kids Golf Tournament 6th Annual Rolling for Wishes Carousel of Dreams hosted by the Festival of Children Foundation Inc. Dave’s Wish Ride

Elie Tahari Fashion Event Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) Annual Golf Tournament I Survived Real Estate 2013 hosted by The Norris Group Making Wishes Come True The Elite OC Schmooze Cruise This Old Bag hosted by Women’s Circle of Wishes W.L. Butler Construction, Inc. 7th Annual Golf Tournament Yelp Orange County Monster Mash

FOUNDATIONS AND GRANTS: Carl E. Wynn Foundation Champions Volunteer Foundation Edwards Lifesciences Eichenberg-Larson Charitable Foundation Festival of Children Foundation Inc. Orange County Community Foundation

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Sheckler Foundation The Allergan Foundation

INDIVIDUALS: Arthur Knowlson Beverly Wiesen Bob and Christi Caruso Brett and Lisa Crail Brian and Shelley Patterson Carolyn Chapparo and Tyrone Montoya Charlene Savage Cheryl and Mohamed Watton Cindy Robinson Cindy Taylor Corey and Jennifer Krutsch Don and Sandra Ayres Donald and Sheila Ward Doug and Linda Heller Edward and Patricia Henry Gerald and Gina Kuhns Glenn Smith Gregory and Sarah Agee Greta Jameson Jack and Ferril Onyett Jade Cao

Janine McDonald Jason Lantgen Jeff and Robyn Larson Jessica Reicher John and Lauren Ott Kathy Bardsley Kenny Wyland Kiara Quinn and Miranda Burgett Margaret Leonard Melvin and Stephanie Tobaru Michael and DeAnna Colglazier Michael and Elizabeth Schreiber Michael Hickman and Pam Huitt Michael O Rourke Michael Rapacz Mike and Tina Catlin Noriko Harman R.M. Harmon Richard and Jennifer Lambright Richard and Kathy Luciano Robert and Ali Bartholomew Samuel and Kate Roth Tanya Christensen Taylor Family Trust Terri Sacks Tim Gordon Tom and Stephanie Walley William Vazac

Aydin, 5 WAGR syndrome, Wilms’ tumor

I wish to be a singer Adopted by Richard and Kathy Luciano

IN-KIND DONORS: 8EightyEight Cigar Merchants Anaheim Ducks Anaheim Hills Jewelry & Coin Mart Arizona Biltmore Balboa Bay Club and Resort Black, Starr & Frost Charlie Palmer Classique Limousines David Cone Disneyland Resort - Public Affair Dept Give Kids The World Golf Swing Prescription Halper Fine Arts Island Hotel Newport Beach Jeff Elder and Karla KjellinElder Jorge and Lucia Luhan Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. Laurie Kagan Lindburgh Mc Pherson and Michael Demoratz Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Martha Culbertson Michael and Tara Shapiro Newport Beach Tennis Club Newport Beach Vascular Surgery and Vein Center Oh My Nails! Ron White Sarah Pizzaruso and Noah Hudson Southwest Airlines Travel Vouchers Terranea Resort Tom and Stephanie Walley Tooker Vacation Properties Total Wine & More Universal Studios Hollywood Villa De La Vine We Buy Houses Wells Fargo Business Card Rewards Wyland Galleries

SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES: Arlington High School Citrus Valley High School Marina High School Villa Park High School

Adopt-A-Wish® supporters Individuals, companies and community groups that donate $5,000 or more have the opportunity to adopt the wish of a local child. Thank you so much to these Adopt-A-Wish supporters!


Richard and Elizabeth Steele Taylor Family Trust

Robert and Ali Bartholomew Mike and Tina Catlin Jennifer Krutsch Logan Lewis Richard and Kathy Luciano Shari Simmons

COMPANIES AND GROUPS: The Allergan Foundation American Security Insurance Company

CBS Radio Riverside – KFROG FM Disney VoluntEARS Edwards Lifesciences Future Ads Golden West Biological MacKenzie Corporation Marina High School Monster Gives Back

Neudesic Pride Bakeries, a Panera Bread franchisee San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Small Business Growth Alliance Stater Bros. Charities




Mesa Verde Country Club

May 19

For sponsorship opportunities or tickets, contact Sarah Pizzaruso 714-573-WISH –

The IRA Charitable Rollover is Back for 2013!


Take advantage of the most tax-effective way to make a gift! Back for 2013, the IRA charitable rollover allows you to give to charities through your IRA without paying tax on the distributions. If you are 70 ½ or older, the charitable IRA rollover legislation allows you to transfer lifetime gifts up to $100,000 using funds from your individual retirement account (IRA) without undesirable tax effects. Don't wait! You only have until the end of January 2014 to take advantage of this opportunity.

For more information, please contact: Christine Gaxiola, Donor Care

The Make-A-Wish® Orange County and the Inland Empire

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS are a diverse group of young leaders who are dedicated to supporting the mission of Make-A-Wish.

Visit or contact us at to learn more.

Help Wish Kids Take Flight. Grayson had his first heart surgery at 11 days old. Then, four years of way too many waiting rooms, doctors and surgeries. He wanted to visit the ocean and collect seashells. One week. No needles. No treatments. Just sunshine, sea-turtles, smiles and sand. One wish come true. One family brought closer together. Lives changed forever.

This year, 250 local wish children and their families will travel for a Make-A-WishŽ experience. That’s 1,250 plane tickets. You can help. Visit to donate miles or dollars and help wish children take flight.

Grayson, 4 hypoplastic left heart syndrome

I wish to go to Sanibel Island and look for seashells


14232 Red Hill Avenue Tustin, CA 92780 714-573-WISH (9474) LIKE our page on Facebook at to find out what’s happening at your local Make-A-Wish chapter! Follow us on Twitter at to get updates on events and fundraisers! Visit to fill out a volunteer application or contact our Volunteer Services Team at!

Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

April 12

Castle Park, Riverside

April 26

OC Great Park, Irvine Sponsorships now available!

Warm Wishes – Winter 2013  

The official newsletter of Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire

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