An old article that was published online from my second year at University of Miami (can’t believe I’m entering my senior year) when I was still majoring in Public Relations (ended up getting a minor instead) from Andrew Quinzi of SoC News. The annual Make-A-Wish Ball is only a few months away and I thought it would be nice to repost/remind.
- Lily O’Dare speaks about her experience fighting Cancer at the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s 17th annual Southern Florida Intercontinental Ball in Miami in November.
When Lily O’Dare walked on stage at a masquerade ball fundraiser sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, she immediately knew that telling her story would make a difference for kids of all ages — O’Dare was a Make-A-Wish kid herself.
On November 5, O’Dare, 20, a sophomore studying Public Relations, played a huge part at the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s 17th annual Southern Florida Intercontinental Ball when she stood in front of hundreds of donators, thanked them for their contributions and explained how they changed lives, including her own.
At the age of 16, O’Dare, was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After beginning chemotherapy, she could not go to school or leave home to spend time with friends.
Two years later, the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted her wish to go to the Food Network in New York City to meet Claire Robinson, a chef and host of “5 Ingredient Fix.” O’Dare said she became Robinson’s biggest fan after spending so much time home sick and only able to watch TV.
“I don’t think people realize how important that wish was for me. It wasn’t just the fun weekend for me, but what happened after,” said O’Dare. “I was reintroduced to life.”
Soon after, Make-a-Wish Foundation contacted her and asked if she would like to speak at their fundraising events to tell people her story.
“With all they had given back to me, I couldn’t say no to this opportunity,” explained O’Dare. “I now know that I’m here to help kids with the same traumatic experience I went through.”
The Make-a-Wish Foundation masquerade ball was headlined by musician Joan Jett and hosted by actress Gabrielle Anwar, co-star of the cable TV series, “Burn Notice.” The ball hosted both a silent auction and a live auction which featured items and trips donated to Make-a-Wish Foundation. All of the proceeds help grant the wishes of children and young people with life-threatening medical conditions.
O’Dare spoke just before Anwar kicked off the live auction. The first person to bid spent $100,000 on 20 wishes.
“We appreciate the generosity of all of our donors and supporters ,” said Norm Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Foundation’s Southern Florida Chapter. “Funds raised from that night will allow us to grant wishes like Lily’s.”
O’Dare is in remission now. She said she is feeling wonderful and remains committed to the charity that helped giver her life back.
“Whenever Make-a-Wish Foundation needs me, I’ll be there to help.” said O’Dare. “These wishes are so important to kids of all ages; I want to get as many of them granted as I can.”
– Andrew Quinzi
December 1, 2011