On Saturday, September 23rd, Make-A-Wish New Jersey hosted its annual Walk & Roll for Wishes event at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The annual “walk and roll” event raised over $75,000, which will help Make-A-Wish New Jersey continue to fulfill their mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
Over 500 guests, including community supporters, corporate sponsors and wish families alike gathered together for a morning of inspiration, and a celebration of over 9,500 wishes granted to New Jersey children throughout the chapter’s 34-year history. The opening program was presented by Rose Farr, Assistant Vice President of Development for Make-A-Wish New Jersey, as well as a moving testimonial from wish kid Alana Essien’s mother, Bernice, of South Plainfield. Alana’s wish to become a recording artist was granted this summer, when she was surprised by Make-A-Wish with a trip to Los Angeles. Alana worked directly with Grammy Award-Winning producer Mikkel Eriksen of Stargate as well as renowned lyricist Sasha Sloan, turning her original song into a professionally produced masterpiece. Alana’s “Dashiki Woman” officially kicked off the walk and roll event Saturday, played for the gathered crowd in Liberty State Park for the first time on the east coast, as it warmed up and inspired participants at the starting line.
“Alana has shown an interest in music since she was a baby, dancing to music whenever she heard it,” shared Alana’s mother, Bernice, during the opening ceremonies. “Music is Alana’s world. Her dreams definitely came true because of Make-A-Wish. It is something that none of us will ever forget. It has not only transformed Alana’s life for the better, but ours as well. We now know, more than ever, that dreams can come true. We are so thankful to have been a part of Alana’s wish, and a part of the Make-A-Wish family.”
Guests enjoyed a non-competitive, handicap-accessible course through Liberty State Park with magnificent views of the New York City skyline, followed by a fun-filled day of music, entertainment, games, food and fun.
“Our annual Walk and Roll for Wishes events are wonderful opportunities to raise awareness as well as to raise the funds needed to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Tom Weatherall, President & Chief Executive Officer for Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “We will grant over 500 wishes throughout the state alone this year, and today’s event will help us reach many of those New Jersey children in need of a wish. Thank you to all who joined us in Liberty State Park, and helped us take another step closer to our vision of reaching every eligible child in the garden state!”
In addition to the Jersey City “walk and roll” event, Make-A-Wish New Jersey will host a second Walk & Roll for Wishes on October 15th in Monroe Township, at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, home of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. More information on the Monroe Township “walk and roll” event can also be found at nj.wish.org/walk.