Spotlight On the 2014 Make-A-Wish Gala

At the event, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island raise money to grant wishes to kids.

Photo by David Wedemeyer

Photo by David Wedemeyer

On Saturday, April 12, 2014, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island celebrated their annual gala at the Intercontinental Boston. Event organizers kicked off the night with a cocktail reception and silent and live auctions (or super silent auction, as they named it) and a diamond raffle presented by DePrisco Wellesley.

After the non-silent, super silent auction (yes, we were confused as well), the party moved upstairs to a main ballroom for dinner and programming emceed by Liz Brunner, of Brunner Communications.

Throughout dinner, Make-A-Wish parents and their children told stories of how the organization has touched their lives via standing-ovation-worthy speeches and truly touching videos. From little Sammuel Gallette’s trip to Hawaii to Izabella Barr attending classes at Berklee College of Music to Celia LaBera’s horseback riding adventure, the tales of wishes granted and medical recovery were remarkable, leaving not a dry eye in the house.

Spotted on the scene: chef Daniel Bruce, of Meritage (who donated a private dinner for 14 to the event); Julie Abel, the org’s director of program services; event chair, Lori Nelson;  CEO Charlotte A. BeattieMayor Marty Walsh, who was escorted by two little Make-A-Wish boys dressed as secret service agents; board member Mark Herman, of Goldman Sachs; and Linda J. Groves, Esquire, a long-time supporter of the org and the winner of the night’s Community Spirit Award.

Another highlight of the eve was a rockin’  guitar performance by the abovementioned Izabella Barr, accompanied by her granddad and Berklee buddies—at one point the entire room was singing along to the chorus of “Brown Eyed Girl.”

The hilarious auctioneer, John W. Terrio finished off the evening with another live auction, pimping out polar bears, Patriots, and our very own Mayor.

Do-gooding fashionistas of note include:

Gretchen Pace, of Saks Fifth Avenue, wearing Rag and Bone, Helmut Lang, and Chanel —all from Saks, of course!

Photo by David Wedemeyer

Photo by David Wedemeyer

 

Melissa Marxuach in a colorful, floral Ted Baker dress, Jessica Simpson shoes, and vintage baubles.

Photo by David Wedemeyer

Photo by David Wedemeyer

 

The gorgeous master of ceremonies, Liz Brunner in her “oldie but goodie” Denise Hajjar pink dress, sparkly peep-toe Choos, and diamonds galore—gifts from her hubby—lucky girl!

Photo by David Wedemeyer

Photo by David Wedemeyer

 

 

But the most stylish woman of the evening was Brenda Haynes. She had the strength and conviction to get up on stage and share the story of her son Rayquan Fregeau. Diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (a rare type of cancer) at only 17 years old, the poet and rapper’s wish was to meet the musician T.I. He met his idol in Atlanta, enjoyed a private dinner with the rapper and later joined him onstage, performing a rap of his own. Rayquan’s mom fought tears as she spoke—her son passed away in January, but she assured us that he left this world with renewed strength and tremendous joy thanks to Make-A-Wish.

 For more information or to make a donation, visit massri.wish.org.

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