MIAMI, Fla. (May 3, 2013) – On Sunday, April 21, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida held its annual Garden Party, building excitement for the upcoming 19th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, to be held on Saturday, November 2, 2013. The private affair – reminiscent of The Great Gatsby in setting and grandeur – was hosted by Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik at their Palm Beach county oceanfront estate to honor contributors of the 2012 Ball, which raised more than $1.7 million. Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik announced that his significant other, “Burn Notice” star Gabrielle Anwar, will emcee the live auction as celebrity auctioneer for the third consecutive year, to which she lightheartedly proclaimed, “For the record, I beat Sharon Stone!”
“I am touched to see the unwavering commitment of those who come out year after year in support of this great endeavor, especially those who have taken me up on my ‘Chairman’s Challenge,’” said Shareef Malnik, nine-time Ball Chairman and proprietor of The Forge Restaurant | Winebar. “It is because of their generous pledges that I am halfway to achieving my goal of underwriting the cost of the Ball for the next five years.”
Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, continued, “The generous supporters in our South Florida community have made our chapter a model for the international organization. I’m proud to say that we are one of only 4 chapters worldwide to grant a milestone 9,000 wishes to date. I can’t think of a better way to continue the spirit of giving, and kick off the countdown to the 2013 Ball, which will be hosted by the InterContinental Miami for the 19th consecutive year, than with this beautiful event. A very special thank-you goes to Al and Nancy Malnik for opening their home to us for an eighth consecutive year.”
VIP guests at the annual spring soiree included 2011 and 2012 Balls emcee Gabrielle Anwar; “Chairman’s Challenge” Member Richard Polidori; Chairman’s Challenge Members Todd and Kim Glaser, Chair of the Make-A-Wish Board of Directors, Brett Rose; Mike Kovensky, Director of Sales and Marketing for InterContinental Miami; Ball Auctioneer Brian Holland, legendary boxing manager Don King; noted restaurateur and reality television personality Fabian Basabe; socialite Linda Levy Goldberg and many more. Set affront a backdrop of glamour and sophistication, attendees enjoyed an afternoon of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as well as performances by The Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra. In a nod to the power of magic, a life-sized hare named Mr. Bunny and an elaborately tiered tabletop candy tower – laden with gold and glass vases full of gumballs, cupcakes, licorice and mousse – brought out the inner child in all guests.
In a grand finale that served as testament to the life-changing power of a Wish, Wedderburn introduced “Wish Child” Eric Osherow, a 15-year-old brain cancer survivor, who shared his moving story of persevering through surgeries, physical therapy and grueling rounds of chemotherapy, knowing that once he improved he would be able to fulfill his wish of a surfing trip to Fiji, granted to him by Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.
About Make-A-Wish Southern Florida
Make-A-Wish Southern Florida grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Covering a 13-county territory of Southern Florida, the chapter’s goal is to grant more than 500 wishes in 2013. For more information, contact Make-A-Wish Southern Florida at 888.773.WISH or log on to www.sfla.wish.org.