On May 19, 2019, the Lowcountry community enriched the garden with hope and strength for wish kids at the third annual Wishes in Bloom garden party hosted by Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The event benefited Make-A-Wish® South Carolina. The spectacular garden party celebrated the renewed strength and hope created by a wish granted while raising funds to grant more wishes. Event sponsors, attendees, and guests succeeded. Together, they raised a record amount of more than $170,000. With these funds, Make-A-Wish South Carolina will be able to grant approximately twenty-two and half additional wishes to children in the state battling critical illnesses to restore hope and joy to their lives.
Magnolia Plantation’s famous romantic garden nestled along the scenic Ashley River was the perfect backdrop as guests enjoyed a fabulous cocktail hour and live musical entertainment while bidding on premier auction items. To make more wishes possible for children donors, during the evening’s program attendees placed live auction bids on high-end items and dined on dishes prepared by some of Charleston’s top chefs. Prominent Lowcountry community members filled the room and actively showed the Charlestonian giving spirit. Winslow Hastie, a member of the Magnolia Plantation Board of Directors, said, "On behalf of my family, we are honored to host this very important community event to help children with critical illnesses. We hope that other local businesses will follow Magnolia's lead to support Make-A-Wish South Carolina in the coming years."
To celebrate the chapter’s 35th anniversary, throughout the evening the program paid homage to the South Carolina and Lowcountry communities for the tremendous impact they have made for wish kids during the last thirty-five years. The program also shined a light on the bright future ahead for wish-granting in South Carolina. Guest speakers offered remarkable stories about the life-changing impact wishes have – beyond just medicine. Wish kid Joey Benton welcomed guests and spoke about his wish from 2011 and how it continues to serve as a catalyst for his wellness. Carmen Scott, of Motley Rice Attorneys at Law, an 11-year volunteer wish granter and former board member for Make-A-Wish South Carolina also spoke and expressed how lives are deeply and powerfully altered by a wish experience – including those of the volunteers. Attendees were also treated to a moving presentation by Rebecca Butcher, who shared the journey of her daughter Andie Grace and the beneficial ways Andie Grace’s wish continues to affect their lives.
The highlight of the evening was the on-stage live reveal of 11-year-old Landon’s upcoming wish to go to Atlantis® Resort. Landon battles congenital anomalies which require a lot of time at appointments, time spent away from school, and help from family. Landon wished to go to Atlantis so he could spend quality time with his family. At Wishes in Bloom, the crowd eagerly watched as Carmen Scott, along with Erin Kienzle of ABC News 4, played a game onstage with Landon revealing fun items related to his wish leading up to the announcement that his wish is being granted. Together, Carmen, Erin, and supporters like those in attendance at Wishes in Bloom elevated Landon’s wish to a life-changing experience. With their help, Landon's wish will help him feel optimistic as he looks towards his future.
Tom Johnson, Magnolia’s executive director, said, “We are absolutely thrilled by the quality of this event, the support it received and the stories of the brave young people whose lives are helped by the generosity of the donors. The continuing success of this effort further amplifies the generosity of the city and the hospitality industry. We could not have done this without the local chefs who donated their time and talent, and the companies and individuals who contributed items for the silent and live auctions. Special thanks go to Magnolia’s volunteer corps, whose unwavering support of the gardens makes what we do possible. My hats off to all!”
Misty Farmer, Make-A-Wish South Carolina’s President and CEO, said, “Make-A-Wish South Carolina’s partnership with Magnolia Plantation and Gardens continues to have a significant impact. By hosting Wishes in Bloom and supporting the event with considerable investments, Magnolia is committed to transforming the lives of wish kids and their families, one wish at a time. This year Wishes in Bloom raised more than $170,000 for granting the transformational wishes of children living with critical illnesses in the Lowcountry and throughout South Carolina. We are delighted and deeply grateful for our community partners, including Magnolia, who believe in the Make-A-Wish mission and so generously support this chapter so wishes can continue to change the lives of local wish children.”
Major event sponsors included: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, EventWorks, Pure Insurance®, Convergent Technologies, Lowcountry Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter, Fox Audio Visual, Motley Rice® LLC, Benefitfocus®, Crews Subaru of Charleston, and ABC News 4.
The evening was a showcase for Charleston’s top chefs Steven Manall, Palmetto Café at Belmond Charleston Place; Marc Collins, Circa 1886; Sermet Aslan, Sermet’s Courtyard; Beau Beckner, Hometeam BBQ; Ron Murray, Beyond Expectations; Matthew LeBoeuf, Burwell's Stonefire Grill; Josh Persinger, Country Club of Charleston; and David Pell, The Royal Tern. Specialty items were provided by Lauren Mitterer at WildFlour Pastry and MIX Charleston.
A full list of sponsors and event highlights can be read at: wishesinbloomsc.org.
Mark your calendars for next year’s event on May 17, 2020. To secure an early sponsorship, contact Karen Lucht at [email protected] or 321-408-0437.