by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Over the past two years, the Barton College baseball program has brought in more than $10,000 through charity fundraisers for the Wounded Warrior Project and Breast Cancer Awareness.
On Saturday, March 8, the program hopes to make a similar impact for Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina through a silent auction to take place during the first game of the Bulldogs' doubleheader with North Greenville University.
"We like to do something locally that has meaning to the community," Barton head baseball coach Josh Simmons said. "Two years ago with the Wounded Warriors Project, we have a lot of families with ties to the military here. Last year with our Breast Cancer Awareness, all of the money raised stayed in the local community. There are several families in our area who have either received wishes or would like to be granted wishes, so we thought Make-A-Wish would be an excellent choice for this year."
Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina provides hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions by granting wishes. The fulfillment of the wish is often a turning point in the kids' battle for health, and repairs and strengthens the strained family relationships that often result from the stress of these illnesses. These wishes also make the difficult, but vital, treatment regimens easier to bear.
Last year, Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina granted a record 190 wishes to children in the region, and the chapter has nearly 200 children waiting for their one true wish to be fulfilled in 2014. These wishes, whose average cost is $7,500, are made possible only by donations from individuals, companies, foundations and organizations like the Barton baseball program.
"We are extremely grateful to Coach Simmons and the athletics department at Barton College for hosting their silent auction to benefit our chapter," said Kristen Johnson, Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina President and CEO. "Through their support, we are a step closer to providing memorable wish experiences to the more than 200 eligible children awaiting their wish."
Barton will wear special jerseys donned with Make-A-Wish on the front and the BC logo on the sleeves which will be bid upon throughout the first game of the day. The team will change into its regular uniforms for game two and the winning bidders can collect their jerseys.
"We've gotten sponsors for the event to cover the cost of the uniforms, so every dollar that is brought in will go directly to Make-A-Wish," Simmons said.
Jalen Ward, a 14-year-old Wilson resident who had a wish granted in 2013 through Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, will be on hand to throw out the first pitch prior to the day's first contest.
For more information on the fundraiser, contact the baseball office at (252) 234-0316. To learn more about the work of Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, visit www.eastnc.wish.org.
About Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina
Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Founded in 1986, the chapter serves all medically eligible children who reside in the 49 counties east of the Orange / Alamance county line. Our chapter operates solely through generous donations of individuals, corporations and foundations. With the help of more than 200 volunteers, including our Board of Directors, Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina has granted more than 2,700 wishes since its inception. More information is available on our chapter website www.eastnc.wish.org. You can also follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/eastncwish) and Twitter (@MakeAWishEastNC).