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Make-A-Wish benefit set for Winston-Salem

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By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In the 12 months through this August, the Central and Western North Carolina Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation expects to have granted 200 wishes for children ages 2˝ through 18 who live in 51 North Carolina counties and have life-threatening medical conditions.

Those wishes, which range from going somewhere or being something to meeting someone or having something, brought to 1,760 the total number of wishes the chapter has granted since it was formed in 1985.

While children must be medically approved by the chapter and do not pay to get their wishes, the wishes cost $6,600 on average to the chapter, which receives individual contributions, corporate donations, foundation grants, planned gifts, and chapter fees and assessments.

The chapter, which is based in Charlotte and is part of the Phoenix-based foundation, has a small staff and counts on several dozen volunteers.

It receives contributions from outside groups, including one that will hold its seventh annual benefit festival June 4.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Clemmons, festival organizers aim to net $40,000 to benefit the entire chapter, says Don Timmons, a member of the chapter board and the Rotary Club and president of Receivables Outsource Solutions in Winston-Salem.

The festival will be held at Corpening Plaza in Winston-Salem from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature The Reflections, a band that will play family-friendly pop music.

The festival also will include a silent auction featuring lasik surgery donated by the Duke Eye Center of Winston-Salem, a trip to Myrtle Beach and a foursome at Pinehurst No. 8.

The first festival, which was held in 1999 and raised $6,000, grew out of a wish by Sandy Ward, then a teenage girl, Timmons says.

Ward, who was receiving chemotherapy treatment at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, wanted a band to perform for her friends at their school.

“A lot of these wish kids think of other people in addition to themselves,” says Timmons, whose son’s high-school band performed for as part of the first benefit concert.

For information, visit benefitfestival.org.

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