With head coach Stephanie White leading the charge, the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team helped make the second annual Walk for Wishes a huge success on April 8 at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
The event, hosted by Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee, raised money to grant wishes for kids with life-threatening medical conditions. The Vanderbilt women’s basketball players, who supported Team Jessica, raised a total of $9,168 — the largest amount in the Wish Family Team category. White raised the most individually among the Vanderbilt representatives at $2,508.
“It was a terrific day to raise awareness for Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee,” said White. “I’m so proud of our team and staff for honoring Team Jessica and raising funds to grant wishes.”
An estimated 1,000 participants were in attendance -- including representatives from the Vanderbilt football team and coaching staff -- and the event raised $135,000. The fundraising website will remain open through the month of April.
The morning included a family fun zone, where kids and families took part in activities such as face painting, balloon art and cornhole. Vanderbilt’s mascot, Mr. C, the Nashville Predators’ mascot, Gnash, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s mascot, Champ, were all on hand.
Jessica Bliss, storytelling columnist for the Tennessean, served as emcee for the pre-walk program. The crowd heard from Wish Ambassadors McKenzie, Levi, Jalen and Lily, who spoke about their wishes and what made their Make-A-Wish experience so special.
Presenting sponsor Franklin Kia’s Dan O’Brien joined Bliss and the Wish Ambassadors on stage to share some exciting news. Anniston who has battled Chiari malformation, found out her wish to go to Hawaii is coming true.
Several awards were presented during the program. GameStop won the Top Corporate Team award, raising more than $17,000. The Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee Young Leaders Board won the Top Friends and Family Award. And, Wish Kid Liam won the Top Individual Fundraiser award. He raised money in celebration of completing his chemotherapy treatment.
Walk for Wishes 2017 presented by Franklin Kia was made possible with additional support from 92Q, The Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial, Crowe Horwath, Culture Studio, GameStop, Hunt Brothers Pizza, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
About Walk For Wishes Presented by Franklin Kia: Walk For Wishes Presented by Franklin Kia is a family-friendly one-mile walk where wish kids, volunteer, and community members can come together in support of the Make-A-Wish mission. Enrich the human experience of children with life-threatening medical conditions by helping raise money for local wishes by participating in the walk.