FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM FEBRUARY 2010
For those that have been following my series of articles on “Lessons From Disney,” I ask your indulgence as I change topics for this issue to share a story of true love and the strongest of all commitments.
In 2006, Florence took the Route 93 bus in the San Francisco Bay area to attend a birthday party The bus driver, Michael, noticed Florence and they struck up a conversation. Route 93 was his regular route and one Florence took quite frequently, which allowed them to see each other more and more often.
Michael eventually asked for Florence’s phone number and then for a date. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love and for him to eventually tell her that he wanted to be her husband.
When Florence was diagnosed with cancer, she worried Michael might leave. But, he was always there for her, supporting her throughout the entire experience, including a double mastectomy.
Michael proposed to Florence by saying “I want to make you my wife and make our family official.” He let her know that no matter what might happen, he loved her and wanted to be with her unconditionally.
This isn’t a love story I’ve written for one of my brides and grooms. It’s an excerpt from the website of a new, 501(c)3 nonprofit, a charitable foundation called Wish Upon A Wedding.
Officially launched in January 2010, Wish Upon A Wedding (WUW) enriches lives by granting wedding and civil union wishes to individuals across the United States that have been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. It is the only wedding wish-granting organization in America and Florence and Michael, the couple described in the story above, will be the first to have their wedding wishes granted by WUW on March 13, 2010.
The idea for Wish Upon A Wedding came to its founder, Liz Guthrie, a San Jose, CA wedding event planner while producing a $100,000 wedding giveaway in San Francisco. “Over 350 couples entered,” said Ms. Guthrie, “but there were a number of stories of financial ruin due to health care bills.” “I found myself,” she continued, “wishing there were was an opportunity to donate the prize to more than just one deserving couple.”
Having been raised to “give back to others whenever possible,” Ms. Guthrie turned to other wedding professionals in the San Francisco area to join her mission of granting wedding wishes through Wish Upon A Wedding and was overwhelmed by the positive response.
Today, Wish Upon A Wedding has 12 members on its national, Board of Directors, all with a connection to the wedding industry, coordinating a 4 phase plan to establish local WUW chapters in every major city in the United States by June 2011. The first chapters are slated to open their doors this month in Northern California, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and New York.
Any unmarried adult over the age of 18 that is a legal resident of the United States and has been diagnosed with one year or less to live may apply to have their wedding wishes granted. A “Wedding Request Application,” and a doctor’s verification, must be submitted to the WUW Board for consideration and approval.
Although Florence and Michael will celebrate their wedding wish in March, the official start date for accepting wedding request applications is on Valentine’s Day, 2010.
There are currently, three levels of wedding wishes available, designed to meet the urgency of a Wish Recipient’s needs. WUW also provides limited transportation and accommodations to select guests and, understandably, places restrictions on the number of family members and friends that may attend.
As you can imagine, Wish Upon A Wedding relies on the generosity of professionals from the Wedding and Hospitality industry to grant wishes. And, they are somewhat selective as to the level of professionalism one must demonstrate before being accepted as a “Wish Granter.” According to the WUW website, “As per our bylaws, WUW requires that all Wish Granters be licensed to conduct business, and we prefer that they carry liability insurance.” Their online, “Wish Granter Application” goes on to say that they will require proof of both before a vendor can be approved.
I first heard about Wish Upon A Wedding through a LinkedIn contact and on Facebook. I couldn’t help but feel drawn to this unique organization whose vision is to grant some of the most intimate and heartfelt wishes of people’s lives and help them share their important day with close family members by giving the gift of a dream wedding. I find it to be a gracious gesture and one that will bring happiness to those that don’t always have a reason to smile.
If you’re like me and would like to help but don’t have a WUW chapter in your neighborhood, they will accept cash donations. I’ve put together a Bride and Groom Workshop in Kansas City that will take place in February and am charging a nominal, $5.00 registration fee which will be donated to Wish Upon A Wedding. Granted, my efforts alone will not raise a substantial donation. But, imagine the thousands of dollars that could be raised if other wedding DJs across the country, just like you, were to find creative ways to contribute to the goodwill of such a worthy organization and to grant such extraordinary wishes.
To learn more about Wish Upon A Wedding and how you can get involved, visit their website at http://www.wishuponawedding.org.
Ron Ruth can be reached at email@example.com.
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM FEBRUARY 2010