Close your eyes and imagine you can be a superhero for a day, who would you choose to be? At least for the day at the Annual Make-A-Wish Amazing Race for Children’s Wishes you have a chance to be a superhero and have fun for a good cause. Sunday marked the 14th year of this local event, which was held this year at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club on September 10, and it was a blast!
This annual event is supported by Coronado, Coronado Cays, and San Diego Yacht clubs. Anyone can participate in the event and there are multiple ways to support the cause – through financial donations, volunteer work, auction donations, and financial sponsorships. However, if you want to make it a super fun experience, you can compete with a 10-person bike team or eight-person boat team. The race is loosely modeled after ABC’s popular reality show, The Amazing Race.
This was my second year being part of Melinda Gorman’s 8-person boat team. Every team has a captain and it’s up to participants if they want to choose a theme; Melinda chose superhero costumes and we called ourselves, “Melinda’s Memory Makers.” Our boat team competed against five other teams. Most of the teams decorated their boats and wore costumes. We had six tasks to complete within two hours. The tasks were at six different docks located all over the Cays.
At the start of the race, we were given a clue, which led us to a village in search of a task to complete, and then we earned another clue. Each task resembled a game you might find at a carnival or play at a family get together, and required some skill, a little luck, and a sense of humor. We dropped pennies into water and learned that fluid dynamics makes it hard to hit a target. We also played Jenga, stuffed marshmallows in our mouths, guessed the symbols for big companies, built Lego flowers, and ranked a list of items important in a survival situation (and no, liquor was not a good answer). Our team may not have raised the most money or won the race, but we did win bragging rights for having the best costume in the boat category.
While the race is literally fun and games to attract participants and boost donations, Make-A-Wish Foundation has a noble and serious purpose. It is a non-profit group that raises money to grant children with life-threatening illnesses one wish and provide some joy to those who deserve it most. Members of the boat teams are recommended to raise at least $100 in donations prior to the event and bike team members are encouraged to raise at least $250 each.
Lisa Brenden was this year’s event chair, and she has been an integral part of this fun event since its inception. When she’s not part of a bike team, she’s leading the charge to make sure the group’s financial goal is achieved. This year, the goal was to reach $100,000 to add to over $1 million that the group has cumulatively raised over the years. This year’s “Amazing Race” raised $90,000 between the individual and team donations, silent and live auctions, and raffle tickets sold for a variety of prizes.
Mayor Bailey was the master of ceremonies, and Jim Shirey was once again our auctioneer extraordinaire. He skillfully auctioned off over $12,000 worth of items. The fundraising hasn’t ended because the Navy Yacht Club is hosting their own Make-A-Wish event at the Fleet Reserve in Imperial Beach on September 17. For more information, visit www.nycsd.club or contact Ty Keith by emailing him at [email protected].
The San Diego chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted over 5,000 wishes to children in its history. Two of the children attended this year’s event, 10-year-old Nathan and 20-year-old Nora. Nathan traveled to Oahu with his family for his wish, and Nora went to Puerto Rico. Nora spoke about her five-year battle against a rare blood cancer. Her story brought many in attendance to tears. She is now cancer free and a student at SDSU studying biology with the goal of having a career in medicine one day. Nathan helped the Mayor read raffle ticket numbers at the event. I was encouraged to see the value of this worthy and worthwhile cause to participate in for the good of the community and our children.