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Make-A-Wish New Jersey Celebrates 35 YearsMake-A-Wish New Jersey Celebrates 35 Years

Why I Give

Whether you’re an employee, volunteer, wish family, sponsor or donor, you help us continue to take great strides towards our vision of reaching every eligible child. One of the key components to granting wishes are the funds needed to do so. Over the course of our 35th anniversary this year, you’ll hear from some of our supporters who have played a part in making wishes come true through their philanthropy.

Gary Yourman

"My parents were always involved in raising money for something, through organizing or volunteering at events or shaking a can in front of the grocery store. To me, it was a “normal” part of growing up.

In the spring of 2006, the board of the Greater Trenton Dart League was working on the details for the remainder of our season. We had lost a few players to various illnesses the year before. My father’s passing was just two years earlier. This seemed like the perfect time to get involved with a charity. I presented the idea to the board that we “do something”. Many names came up but we wanted to find a charity with a “local” and “now” impact.

After a few weeks of working with local charities, I emailed Make-A-Wish New Jersey and got a call back that day. The next day I had paperwork, we shifted direction and just a short 5 weeks later we had our inaugural event. We raised $5,800 that day, thanks to about 30 sponsors and 38 attendees. Who knew what it would become. Our recent 2018 event raised $59,240, with over 250 sponsors and 123 attendees.

At the event, it’s always great to have a family come out and share their experiences. It’s a fantastic way for our sponsors and attendees to connect the dots and see their donations making an impact. Each year brings a new family to talk, with a story and experience unique to just them.

I don’t see us stopping anytime soon and hopefully we continue to grow and help more kids each year.”

  • Gary Yourman with the Greater Trenton Dart League

Dolores "Dee" Salomone

Member of the Legacy of Wishes Society

“Leaving a legacy of wishes through a Planned Gift to Make-A-Wish New Jersey was important to me not only because I feel I have been blessed in my own life, but also because I believe so strongly in the mission of helping to ease the burden of children and families who are going through so much. There are many worthy organizations, but the comfort offered by the trust I have for this one, and my profound admiration for the work they carry out, means so much.”



Tom and Kathy Denora

"Make-A-Wish was there for us when our son Michael was diagnosed with cancer at age 13. As you can imagine, it was a difficult time with so many unknowns. Our doctor suggested to Michael that he submit a wish to Make-A-Wish. Michael wished for a go-kart not knowing if it would be granted. To our surprise, Michael’s wish was granted and delivered to our home at the perfect time during his treatments. That wish brought him hours of fun and allowed him to be a kid again. Understanding how much joy and laughter these wishes bring to the children and their families, it became one of our foundation’s missions to give back to Make-A-Wish and help support children’s wishes."

  • Michael Denora's wish to have a go-kart was granted in 1999

Make-A-Wish was there for us when we needed them the most and it is our turn to be supportive and give back to them. ”

— Tom and Kathy Denora, parents of wish child Michael

Ros Westlake and Steve Smotrich

“I became aware of a child in our town that was suffering from a critical illness back in 1997 that had been granted their wish by Make-A-Wish. My friend and I were planning an event that was a perfect opportunity to solicit sponsors and we decided to select Make-A-Wish as the recipient of our fundraising. I have continued to do the event every year since, and because Ros has a great niece who was granted a wish, we gladly continue to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Several years ago, Ros and I were approached about a sustaining gift, when the castle was still in the planning stages. We decided to fund a stained glass window in the entryway to the castle. We are so happy to support such a wonderful facility where wishes are granted to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, hopefully giving them and their families some bright days to look forward to!”

  • Make-A-Wish New Jersey President & CEO Tom Weatherall and Major Gifts Officer Gabrielle Peterson with Ros Westlake and Steve Smotrich

Make-A-Wish® New Jersey
Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place
1384 Perrineville Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
(609) 371-9474
Toll Free (800) 252-9474