For the past 16 years, the partnership between the St. Louis Rams and Make-A-Wish Missouri has been a dream come true. That is actually understating the relationship a bit. Truthfully, the partnership has been more like hundreds of dreams come true.
On Monday, September 17, the Rams and Make-A-Wish will team up to host the 17th annual Celebrity Server Dinner Night of Wishes. During the event, held in the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, Rams players and cheerleaders and Rampage will act as celebrity waiters working for tips to raise funds in support of Make-A-Wish’s mission. According to Make-A-Wish president LuAnn Bott, this one evening will fund the wishes of 60 local Wish Kids.
“This is our single largest event – our showcase event, if you will,” Bott said. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
While Laurinaitis will be the face of the Celebrity Server Dinner, his Rams teammates will also be helping make wishes come true. Throughout the evening, the players, cheerleaders and Rampage will sign autographs, pose for pictures and interact with Wish Kids and their families and others in attendance. The night acts as a wish-come-true in itself.
“These kids are getting the chance to spend the evening with their heroes, someone they look up to and admire,” Bott said. “It has a tremendous impact on the kids for their health and just their general good spirits.”
One story from last year stands out to Bott.
“Last year there was a boy who really wanted to meet
The Rams players might be the headliners at the Celebrity Server Dinner, but it is the Wish Kids that serve as the ambassadors. As Bott puts it, the kids make the evening a personal one by sharing their stories and interacting with those in attendance. For many Wish Kids and their families, the evening provides a small, but uplifting break from the daily struggles associated with a life-threatening illness.
“Typically wishes are granted at times that they’re needed most,” Make-A-Wish brand advancement manager Emily Ross said. “They help bring families together and inspire hope.”
That is just what the Rams and Make-A-Wish Missouri are hoping to accomplish through the Celebrity Server Dinner. According to Bott, the non-profit grants close to 290 wishes each year in Missouri for kids between the ages of two-and-a-half and 18. But even with that effort, she said there are potentially 500 wishes to be granted in the state. Bott and Make-A-Wish have set a goal of raising $8 million in order to fund all the wishes in Missouri. The Rams are happy they can play a role in those fundraising efforts.
“Make-A-Wish has become one of the Rams’ cornerstone charitable partners,” Rams vice president of corporate communications and civic affairs Molly Higgins said. “Their mission is so simple yet so powerful: providing wishes to sick children. Our players and cheerleaders really rally behind that mission and appreciate the opportunity to help in making their wishes come true. And all of that starts with James, who embraced the opportunity to lead the event when we approached him about it a couple years ago. The event has always had tremendous player support, but thanks in large part to James’ leadership and recruitment of his teammates, the event has reached all new heights. We couldn’t do it without his dedication to the cause and most importantly the kids.”
This year, Make-A-Wish is offering the chance to sponsor a Wish Kid and his or her family at the Celebrity Server Dinner. For information about sponsorship, tickets or event information, contact Carol Burcke with Make-A-Wish at firstname.lastname@example.org.