On Friday, February 1, 300 Charlotteans came together to support Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina at the organization's annual gala, The Wish Ball. The event was hosted by Presenting Sponsor, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, which set the stage for a beautiful evening.
Before guests enjoyed the ambiance of Del Frisco's for dinner, they started with cocktail hour in an elegant, clear tent set up directly behind the restaurant. Complete with twinkle lights and Chinese lanterns, the tent also hosted the silent auction which included more than 100 items such as jewelry, vacation getaways, sports memorabilia, designer bags and unforgettable experiences.
Guests were then escorted inside for a seated dinner complete with filet mignon and crab cakes. The restaurant was bustling with excitement as the program for the evening began. Matt Johnson, with Title Sponsor Wells Fargo and a member of the Wish Ball committee, welcomed everyone to the event and thanked Rick Cheesman, general manager of Del Frisco's, by presenting him with a one-of-a-kind painting, by a Wish child, Julianna Viveiros who was in attendance.
The program continued with a heartfelt speech by Larry Rivenbark, a Wish dad from Greensboro, whose daughter Mandi was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma two years ago. Larry discussed the incredible impact Mandi's wish to go to Turks & Caicos had on the mental and emotional state of Mandi and the entire family while going through such a difficult time. Today, Mandi is healthy, happy and doing great!
The auctioneer then took over and auctioned off nine coveted items including a private dinner for 20 at Del Frisco's, one-of-a-kind Wish Art created by Wish child Julianna Viveiros, a behind-the-scenes tour of Rick Hendrick's auto collection, a kid's party with Cam Newton, a Goldendoodle puppy and a one-week get-away to peaceful Bald Head Island.
Guests then had a surprise visit from Tinkerbell and Rapunzel, who stopped by to tell 5-year-old Wish child, Zoe, that her wish to go to Disney World to meet the Disney fairies was being granted.
After dinner, guests continued to enjoy the evening with mingling in the restaurant and dancing to the sounds of a live band in the tent.
The Wish Ball turned out to be a great party, as well as a fantastic fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina, raising nearly $350,000 for the organization. Thank you to all of our supporters and sponsors for making this a remarkable evening of awareness and support for the chapter!