Winter Wonderland Gala Dazzles at Cercle Cité
27,700 Euros Raised for Make-A-Wish Luxembourg
The elegant Cercle Cité was transformed into a dazzling Winter Wonderland for the Make-A-Wish Luxembourg Gala charity event of the year. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
212 people enjoyed a very special evening that raised 27,700 Euro on 12 November 2016, enabling more future wishes to come true. As guests arrived in formal attire and a festive mood, it was clear something special was happening as a blue glow emanated from Cercle Cite. From the horse greeters Marlene Muller and Deborah Bruchle, astride horses trimmed in blue lights standing before the columned arched entrance, to the blue sky and snowflake lasers radiating from the upper floor windows, everything turned Make-A-Wish blue around Place d’Arms.
Inside, as guests made their way up the curving staircase adorned in snowflakes and fairy lights, Miss Luxembourg 2016, Ada Strock provided a further greeting. As crement flowed and canapes were enjoyed, harpist La Folier Royale provided soothing background music, and roaming Habile magicians delighted and mystified with surprising card tricks, while professional photographers Piotr Nasch and Bruno DeSere captured the memories.
Guests were treated to a lavish 3-course dinner created by the Chef of La Mirabelle, Sébastien Convers, and concluded with coffee accompanied by the famous madeleines from Chef Léa Linster.
During dinner, sand artist Rosa van de Vijver provided a very moving account in sand of the first wish in 1980, which inspired the creation of the organisation. Chris, a 7-year-old boy with leukaemia in Arizona wished to be a Policeman for a day. As she painted his story, from wish desire through its fulfilment, and unfortunately his passing 2 days later, there was nary a dry eye as his star floated to heaven. The star is the symbol of Make-A-Wish and new this year was the selling of Wish Stars to decorate a Wish Tree. The tree was filled twice, raising funds for 2 wishes.
Since 1980, Make-Wish has expanded to 50 countries and somewhere in the world a wish is granted every 18 minutes. Luxembourg became an affiliate in late 2012 and has granted 19 wishes to date. Founder and President Marcel Hagendoorn shared a video of the organisation’s latest wish, for Alex, a 5 year old with leukaemiawho wished to be a Superhero. Alex helped the Luxembourg police battle the Joker to save ING Bank and Luxembourg. This wish was realised through over 65 volunteers, and embraced hearts from the Luxembourg police, to bike groups to the Grand Duchess, highlighting the magic of wishes not only to the child and family, but the entire community. There is nothing more powerful than experiencing the healing power of a wish come true.
Marcel thanked all the Luxembourg Make-A-Wish volunteers, and presented the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award to Jennifer Milleson, for her daily dedication and support. He also thanked the sponsors TMF Group, Twenty First Capital and Financial Word, the donors, and everyone attending, for making it not only an evening to remember but an evening with long term benefits. His greatest hope is that knowledge of Make-A-Wish and its mission achieves greater awareness in Luxembourg in the next year, so that even more can be accomplished.
34 prizes were displayed before dinner for the Silent Auction, with a Thai Cooking Class proving very popular, but it was the Live Auction following dinner that raised an air of anticipation. Master of Ceremonies Jim Kent energised the audience for 8 rounds of extraordinary prizes including: Paintings from known local artists, a hot air balloon adventure, private wine tastings, a Bugatti driving experience and afternoon tea with the British Ambassador. The audience was on the edge of their seats during the rapid-fire volley of bids, with the top bid of 3200 Euro going for “Wine Tasting and Dinner for 10” at In Vino Gildas, purchased by Joost and Jolijn Mees.
Following the auction, guests enjoyed the Las Vegas Casino with free casino cash, specialty cocktails like the Winter Cosmo, a novelty selfie photo booth with props adding to the fun and danced the night away while DJ Fab spun tunes until 2:00 am.
The event organisers, Lisa Sarfati and Wendy Caceres, and their team of volunteers created a truly grand evening for all. But most importantly, everyone left with the awareness of the Make-A-Wish mission, the importance of a wish, and proceeds for new wishes to be granted for children with life-threatening illnesses in Luxembourg. As Peter Economides, chair of Make-A-Wish International has stated:
“Make-A-Wish provides hope and optimism. For most children a wish is a dream. When a wish is fulfilled a child gets hope, and when they see the impossible can happen, the child understands that other things can happen. Often it helps their recovery. For many, it is the greatest day in his or her life.”
You can help support Make-A-Wish Luxembourg by donations, becoming a sponsor, partnering, organising an event or volunteering. For more information, visit www.make-a-wish.lu.