Make-A-Wish New Jersey Raises $1.1 Million at Annual Gala

Mathew Shanley

There are more wishes on the way.
Thanks to its annual Gala held at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place in Monroe, Make-A-Wish New Jersey (and the $1.1 million raised there), more children with life-threatening medical conditions will have their wishes granted. The money raised will provide funding for more than 100 wishes to New Jersey children in the upcoming months.
More than 700 guests attended the Wishing Place – which was designed in part by Disney “Imagineers” and resembles an actual castle – for the event, and cocktails and dinner were served. More than that, though, an exciting auction was held, inspirational testimonials were given, and an electrifying performance by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Max Weinberg of the E-Street Band was given.
The most moving portions of the night, though, came when Wish Kids, who had recently experienced the impact of a wish granted, performed in front of a captivated audience. Ryland, age 11, whose wish was to report the weather live on the Weather Channel, gave a forecast of the night ahead, while Ava, age 16, whose wish was for a cello, performed a classical piece.
Joint recipients of the Make-A-Wish New Jersey 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award were also recognized, as CareOne CEO Daniel Straus and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Straus shared the honors. In February, CareOne’s 200 Wishes fundraiser raised $1.3 million in support of Make-A-Wish.
“CareOne is hopefully an example to others of what it means to be involved in business and community. You have to be involved in both to be successful,” commented Daniel Straus, CEO of CareOne.
“I don't think you can care for people without caring for each other. We want to be a place where everyone knows we're compassionate and we really want to care for those in need,” added Elizabeth Straus, CareOne Executive Vice President.
“Thursday evening was about three things,” said Make-A-Wish New Jersey President and CEO Tom Weatherall, who also gave an inspiring address. “First, it was about thanking friends like CareOne and Daniel & Lizzy Straus for their extraordinary charitable efforts on our behalf earlier this year.
Second, this is our signature fundraising event of the year, raising the vital funds needed for our upcoming busiest season, the summertime, when we will grant 50 percent of an entire year of wishes.
And thirdly, it was a celebration of our seemingly simple, but oh-so-powerful mission.”
By the end of 2017, more than 500 New Jersey children will have experienced the power of a wish this year.

The @wishnj Castle was lit in our #CareOne colors last night! Thank you @wishnj for hosting an incredible gala!#WishNJgala #TrustInOurCare

— Daniel E. Straus (@Daniel_E_Straus) June 9, 2017
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