‘Ultimate Sports Auction’ a hit for fans, ‘Wish Kids’

By Stu Opperman….

Legendary former Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden (left) is pictured with Norm Wedderburn, president/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

Legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden visited and Florida Marlins president David Samson became a Hall-of-Famer, but the long-term impact of the recent Make-a-Wish Foundation’s “Ultimate Sports Auction” has yet to be seen.

That’s because the $125,000 raised will grant the wishes of 25 children with life-threatening medical conditions. The event has raised nearly $4 million in its 18-year history.

Taking place recently at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, the fundraiser included more than 140 auction items, with local and national sports celebrities auctioning elaborate experiences throughout the evening.

Bowden was joined by three of his Florida State quarterbacks — Danny Kanell, Drew Weatherford and Casey Weldon — while attendees also got to rub elbows with Vince Young, Andre Dawson, Howard Schnellenberger, Bernie Kosar, Lesley Visser, Bryant McKinnie, Keith Sims, and Peter DeBoer.

Samson was inducted into the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida’s Ultimate Sports Auction Hall-of-Fame for his many years of involvement with the event. He was inducted by “Mr. Marlin” Jeff Conine and joins Dan Marino (2004), Tony Segreto (2005), Conine (2006), and Bob Beamon (2009) as recipients of the honor.

“We would not have been able to have nearly the success we have at the Ultimate Sports Auction without David Samson,” said Norm Wedderburn, president/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. “He is committed to helping us fulfill our mission and has been a game-changer for the South Florida children whose wishes we’ve granted.”

Since 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida has enriched the human experience with hope, strength, and joy nearly 8,000 times for families in its territory. It receives no federal or state funding and raises money to grant wishes through corporate sponsorships, special events, foundation grants, and individual contributions.

For more information, to make a donation, volunteer or refer a child, call 1-888-773-WISH or visit online at www.sfla.wish.org.

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