Indianapolis radio station WZPL 99.5 holds a request-a-thon each year to raise money to fund wish trips for Make-A-Wish children in the tri state area. On air personalities Smiley and KJ commit many hours to raising funds to fulfill the dreams of these sick kids. The Bennett and Young families (other families affected by childhood cancer) had taken their Wish trip together and had decided to band together and start giving back by funding other kids wish trips. They started up a softball tournament called the Maeci & Gracie Give Back a Wish tournament. The first tournament in 2011 raised approximately $13,000 which is enough to grant two average Wish trips. They had been on WZPL and granted the first trip to a young girl named Charla who was awaiting a heart transplant. They were going to be on the show to talk about that granted trip and mentioned that they were going to see if Brianna’s wish could be one of the featured wishes in an attempt to help her trip get funded.
The date unfortunately fell on the day of the sibling tour so Angie and Bri attended the Request-a-thon while I took Tori to Riley. Up to this point Brianna had lost so much of her mobility and her ability to speak. She slouched in a wheelchair that had to be extremely uncomfortable to her and I am sure she hated when we moved her yet she remained a trooper and never gave us any sign. She was tough.
Angie and Bri went into the studio and Angie told Brianna’s story. She did a great job and held her composure very well as she explained the hell that we were going through and what our Princess was having to endure. Brianna’s wish would require approximately $6,000 to be fully funded. What Angie did not know was that outside the studio Chris Bennett (Gracie’s Dad) and Jay Young (Maeci’s Dad) were explaining that the true reason they were there was to provide $5,000 towards Bri’s wish. Within seconds of going on the air her wish was almost fully funded. Stephanie, Gracie’s Mom, had held this secret from us for months as the girls took chemotherapy treatments together every other Tuesday. We had no idea and were blown away by the generosity of these two families.
Bri needed another $1,000 to fully fund her trip and the surprises were not complete for us on this day. Also in the studio was a gentleman named Carl Drury. Carl is a colleague of Dani Weaver, an amazing young lady that had been Tori and Bri’s basketball coach in the local Upward Christian based program. Carl had heard about Brianna’s trip and had decided to grant the final amount needed to complete the trip. Carl has his own foundation that he uses to help others in need. It is his way of giving back after his recovery from an organ transplant. We were amazed at his generosity as well as we had never met this man and his wife Bobbi.
So, within a couple of minutes Brianna was fully funded to live her dream of going to the home of the Princesses, Disneyworld. The only thing that stood in her way was the clearance from her doctor which he gave. We would be on our way in late December. Bri was excited.