Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team
Bright lights and big dreams came to life during the 22nd Annual Wish Ball last Saturday. More than 700 guests filed into Chicago’s Union Station – and not to take a train. The space was transformed into an area ripe for bidding, eating, drinking and dancing. Honorary Chair Mike Ditka, former head coach of the Chicago Bears, was on hand to greet guests and show his support for the Foundation. Also on the scene were six “Wish Kids,” sporting big smiles and their Sunday best.
Before the seated dinner, guests perused the silent auction items while making their way through a mini Taste of Chicago, sampling bites from the Park Grill, cibomatto, Blue 13, La Madia, Morton’s and Mike Ditka’s. Emceed by Peggy Kusinski of NBC 5 Chicago, the night included a special show by performers from The Second City and Barack Obama – um, that would be our very own Street Teamer Reggie Brown!The live auction raised some serious cash for the Foundation with enticing items such as a private dinner party at the winner’s home, prepared by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard ($10,000) and an opportunity to race a Ferrari 355 Challenge race car ($12,550). At the end of the evening, guests enjoyed dancing to the Bluz Brothers Band and sampling sweets from a dessert table donated by the Affina Hotel.
Proceeds from Wish Ball 2009 will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, helping to grant nearly 150 of the 700 wishes the Foundation will give this year to Illinois children facing life-threatening medical conditions. This event is made possible by support from generous sponsors, including sponsor GATX Corporation and Platinum Sponsors Baxter, Macy’s, PotashCorp and Unum. Since being founded in Illinois in 1985, the Foundation has granted more than 8,000 wishes. For more information, visit www.wishes.org or call 312.602.WISH.