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VOL. 127 | NO. 104 | Monday, May 28, 2012

Granting Wishes

MAAR Commercial Council raises money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

By Sarah Baker

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Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South plans to grant 220 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions this year.

Krislyn Brown, 17, standing with her parents, Fred and Connie Rauch, learns that her wish – a trip to the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas – was granted. She heard the news during the second annual MAAR Commercial Council Charity Golf Tournament benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

On Thursday, May 24, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors Commercial Council was able to witness one of those wishes being granted firsthand at Windyke Country Club, as well as donate enough funds to share the power of three additional wishes.

In front of a crowd of the city’s commercial real estate professionals and volunteers, 17-year-old Krislyn Brown was granted her wish to visit the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas.

“I just want to thank everybody,” Brown said upon receiving the news that her whole family would be treated to a vacation later this summer before she attends her senior year at Houston High School. “I really appreciate it and so does my family.”

This time last year, Brown was completing her first treatment of chemotherapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is a survivor of Stage 3 ovarian cancer.

While presenting Brown with her beach bag of accessories, emcee Ron Olson of FM 100 said now Brown will have the chance to get away for a while and, “forget about all of the trips to St. Jude.”

Earlier this year with the help of Memphis firefighters, the MAAR Commercial Council was able to grant Collierville student Trey Erwin’s wish of going to Hawaii. Erwin has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The Council raised about $20,000 during its second annual golf tournament benefiting Make-A-Wish. The benefit was implemented by last year’s president, Ron Riley, who felt the need to get the organization’s 350 members involved in a philanthropic component outside of the everyday hustle and bustle of CRE.

“We don’t get $20,000 donations every day,” said Liz Larkin, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South. “It means a lot to us.”

Since the average wish costs about $5,000 to execute, MAAR will be able to grant two more wishes this year. That’s seven wishes in the two years.

“A lot of the commercial real estate community has stepped up to participate in this event,” said Tony Argiro of Highwood Properties Inc., one of the tournament’s many organizers. “We started our fundraising in earnest in late January/early February and it sold out within three weeks.”

The tournament had 31 teams of four and more than 100 sponsors.

Golfers in the second annual MAAR Commercial Council Charity Golf Tournament benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South cheer for Krislyn Brown, 17, as her Make-A-Wish wish is granted to travel to the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

“We had such a strong demand, we were making up new sponsorships this year,” said John Mercer of Highwoods and 2012 president of MAAR Commercial Council. “We had people who wanted to get involved and remained involved. For example, I (wore) one group’s shirt and they are sponsoring the President’s Golf Cart. We had to get real creative because the number of foursomes sold out so quickly and there was still a big demand for people wanting to be involved.”

Larkin said the local chapter of Make-A-Wish stands out in that it strives to make the wish presentation as magical as the wish itself.

“We put a lot of pride in matching up our sponsors, like MAAR, to be able to meet their wish child and tell the child that their wish is being granted,” Larkin said. “A lot of chapters don’t do that.”

While the concept of a golf tournament is nothing novel, it provides the local CRE community an opportunity for networking, a little light-hearted competition and most importantly, to give back.

“There are a lot of great golf tournaments out there, but I tell you what, the impact and the comments we get from people actually being able to see to wish granted and knowing that their foursome or their sponsorship money – A, they had a good time, but B, it goes to something worthwhile.”

MAAR Commercial Council is also preparing for a service-oriented event this fall that will be similar to last year’s Binghampton Development Corp.’s Urban Farms project.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916