Party in the Garden: The Malnik family Hosts Event for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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The Malnik family hosts an exclusive spring event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

By Cristina Ordoqui

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 “We are extremely proud and privileged to be a part of the Make-A-Wish family knowing their selfless dedication to suffering children will always be full speed ahead no matter what time of day, week, month, or year it may happen to be.”

The Miami Symphony Orchestra played, cocktails were served, hors d’oeuvres were passed, and synchronized swimmers performed at the oceanside Malnik estate in Palm Beach as 200 of South Florida’s leading philanthropists attended the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Garden Party on Sunday, March 2, 2008.

The guest list for the event included Norman Wedderburn, president/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; Jack Miller, general manager of the InterContinental Miami and gala host of the IC MAW Ball; L. Robert Elias, chairman of the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; and James Ferraro of the Ferraro Law Firm and wish benefactor of the IC MAW Ball. Special celebrity guests included world champion boxer Lennox Lewis and Erinn Cosby, daughter of actor Bill Cosby.

The fundraiser’s proceeds directly benefited the children of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, which was founded in 1983 to grant “wishes” to children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions, and enrich their quality of life. Since its establishment, the organization has granted more than 6,000 wishes to children throughout 13 South Florida counties, each costing an average of $5,000.

Seven-year-old Jonalya, whose dream was to become a firefighter, made the foundation’s 6,000th wish in 2006. ” I want to save lives,” she said. So the foundation partnered with an entire engine company to make her wish come true. Jonalya was able to go to the firehouse, ride around the station in her custom-made uniform and helmet, and save a stuffed dalmatian during a staged fire emergency.

“We are extremely proud and privileged to be a part of the Make-A-Wish family knowing their selfless dedication to suffering children will always be full speed ahead no matter what time of day, week, month, or year it may happen to be,” said Al Malnik, lifetime benefactor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The garden party marked the first in a series of events, including the Spring Fling Flower Fashion Show and the Uncork-A-Wish Wine Tasting fundraiser, leading toward the highly anticipated InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, which will be held on November 8, 2008. Last year, guests at the ball raised $1.5 million, exceeding the previous total of $850,000 in 2006.

“We are so fortunate to have so many individuals coming out year after year with their continued support for the ball,” said Shareef Malnik, gala chair of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball for the past 13 years.

Guests of the ball have included musical legend Natalie Cole, actress Sharon Stone, and former basketball superstar Scottie Pippen. This year’s ball will mark the 25th anniversary of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, and the 14th anniversary of the IC MAW ball. Hundreds of socialites, philanthropists, and A-List VIPs are expected to attend the soirée, making it the foundation’s most exciting event this year.

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