Local Tarbut v’ Torah high school students hosted a fundraiser in May for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County. The Wolder triplet sisters Cara, Jessica and Liora, tenth graders from TVT, founded a Make-A-Wish® club at their school at the beginning of the year. The club attracted many members and currently consists of more than 40 students. Lily Samson, their good friend, was also instrumental in making the club a success.
Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, with 62 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish every 38 minutes and has granted more than 200,000 wishes in the United States since it began.
The TVT club has been growing since its inception and been very successful. In September 2012, the target was to raise $5,000, which grants one wish for one child. The club quickly raised $8,500. Later in the school year, ironically and very unfortunately, one of the triplets contracted a rare form of cancer and began her own treatment. This event added to the club’s desire to be a huge success!
In the last semester of the school year, the club teamed up with a friend of the Wolder family, Lisa Dimant, and her husband, Ash, to create a major fundraiser for the year – The Shave-a-Thon. Volunteer hairstylists from Empire Salon in Irvine took on the task of shaving the heads. Members of the community, friends and many students from the school agreed to have their heads shaven to increase cancer awareness, to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and to show their love and support for the Wolder family.
Around 300 people came out to participate in the inaugural Make-A-Wish Shave-A-Thon hosted by the Make-A-Wish Club of Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School on Sunday, May 19. The event was held at the Westpark Village Community Center in Irvine and brought together community members, 75 of them offering to shave, buzz or cut their hair if they raised their personal fundraising goals. These donations, in conjunction with more than 25 corporate sponsorships, brought the event’s total to an amazing $12,895.
At the event, participants who hadn’t planned on shaving their heads volunteered to do so if they could collect enough pledges from the audience. Charles Bonner, owner of Steven’s Pharmacy, one of the event’s corporate sponsors, raised $900 in pledges at the event and consented to have his head buzzed in front of the crowd.
“Being part of the health community, it was such an honor to be a part of this event,” said Leah Bonner, Charles Bonner’s wife. “A wish gives someone hope, and it allows the medication and the treatment to work. We know that this is a big part of making people better, and it’s very inspirational how the triplets brought the whole community together. My husband didn’t expect to have his hair cut, but everyone just inspired everyone today, so he decided to.”
Through fundraising efforts prior to the Shave-A-Thon, Tarbut V’Torah’s club had already adopted the wishes of three local children: 4-year-old Iazy’s wish to meet the Incredible Hulk, 7-year-old Katelyn’s wish to go on a Disney Cruise and 17-year-old Emmanuel’s wish to have a shopping spree. The club now hopes to adopt three more wishes for local children.
Not only were heads shaven, but many girls and women had a minimum of 10 inches of their own hair cut and donated to the Pantene Corporation, which coordinates making wigs for cancer patients. Many participants competed to see who could raise the most money in sponsorships. The TVT club raised more than $30,000 in total, including corporate sponsorships, and it has surpassed any other Make-A-Wish school club in the country. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was astounded by this event, the participation and the results. So many wishes will be granted for these deserving children as a result of the TVT club and its efforts. It was truly an awesome and selfless accomplishment by these young women, their families, friends, school and community.
If you would like to know more about the TVT Make-A-Wish club or to make a donation, please contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation Orange County at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at www.wishocie.org.