20th Annual Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Auction

The 20th Annual Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Auction presented by Publix Super Markets and Charities took place on February 25, 2013 in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium. This was absolutely a Slam Dunk, Home Run, and Touchdown event that made the wishes of several children come true.

The featured guest of the evening was 3-time NFL Super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame player/coach, Mike Ditka. The event also turned out an array of other sports athletes and personalities from the sports world that came together in support of an amazing cause. Florida Atlantic University Ambassador Howard Schnellenberger was present. Heat TV play-by-play announcer and color analyst, Eric “Kaboom” Reid and Tony “The Coach” Fiorentino were also among the crowd. Additionally, former Miami Marlins First Baseman/Outfielder Cliff Floyd, former Miami Dolphins players Rob Konrad, Jeff Cross, Shawn Wooden, Greg Baty, and former Jacksonville Jaguar Mike Baniewicz also supported the cause.

The Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Auction has raised more than $4 million dollars since the program was first developed. The contributions to the foundation have been able to grant 900 wishes to kids with serious life-threatening conditions within the South Florida region.

The money raised through live and silent auctions featured basketballs autographed by Chicago Bulls’ Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, and the Miami Heat’s very own NBA Champions Lebron James and Ray Allen. Footballs were also auctioned off autographed by Mike Ditka himself, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Reggie Bush, Peyton Manning, and much, much, more.

The latest star to make a guest appearance is also the most recent addition to the Make-A-Wish foundation was Miami Heat Guard, Ray Allen. “It’s always a great sign for us to know that what we’re doing is more than worth those wins and losses,” Ray Allen stated during an interview. 13-year old Jack Henry from Iowa, a fan of Allen, suffers from cystic fibrosis and wished to one day meet and spend some time with childhood hero, Ray Allen. The foundation made his wish come true.

The evening was a score with everyone from the children, the sports stars, celebrities, and supporters. The program met its goal. The Make-A-Wish Ultimate Sports Auction continued to make the children’s wishes come true with the support of these generous folks.

As the South Florida Chapter continues to make its impact on the children, the overwhelming unselfish support follows right behind. Thanks to the contributions and support, the foundation has been able to grant 8,500 wishes since 1983. Every 16 hours, 365 days a year, this amazing foundation make 1 wish reality.

For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation please visit http://www.wish.org/

(Photos courtesy of Aaron Golobowich)