On Saturday evening the doors of the Cercle Cité opened to host the 3rd Make-A-Wish gala in Luxembourg. Guests arrived dressed to the nines, in ball gowns and tuxedos, at the “Winter Wonderland” themed ball.
Photo: Arthur Ranzy
They were greeted by a cocktail reception and a silent auction where they could bid on over 30 prizes, including Latin dance classes and Amazon Kindles. It seemed as though every business in the city had pulled together to support Make-A-Wish.
Although the charity is well known all over the world, it was less than five years ago that Dutch native Marcel Hagendoorn brought the idea to Luxembourg. As the founding president, he explained why he was so motivated to introduce this organisation to the Grand Duchy: “I learnt about this charity working in Australia and I felt that I really needed to do something meaningful with my time, because the effects are really life-changing for the children.”
Marcel was also keen to correct the misconception that the charity grants last wishes to terminally ill children. “That’s not the case at all. We grant the biggest wish of children who are unwell, we do not wait until an illness is terminal. We get in touch as soon as a child has been diagnosed in the hospital, we believe that a wish can motivate you and improve your condition, it can be a form of medicine!”
19 wishes and counting
Having granted just 19 wishes in the last four years, Marcel’s biggest obstacle is getting more people involved. Conscious that the charity still needs more awareness and donations, he said: “Our mission for 2017 is that more Luxembourgish people will know about the charity. I hope that I can go up to anyone in the street and ask them about Make-A-Wish and they can turn around and tell me about what we do.”
Having said that, there were certainly a great deal of volunteers and sponsors who were part of the event this year. Florida native Wendy Caceres was one of the volunteer co-chairs of the event. Having been involved with the charity in Luxembourg for the past two years, she was eager to get stuck in and help with the event. “I approached Marcel and explained that I have experience with events and would love to be a part of it. We want to raise as much money as we can, and we’d like to get the ball rolling this evening. A wish costs around €3,500, it would be amazing to see ten more wishes granted in 2017.”
It sure looked like a lot of wishes will be granted as guests threw themselves into a live auction after dinner that was presented by ex-Ara City Radio presenter Jim Kent. From hot air balloon rides, to Bugatti driving experiences, there was even a home wine-tasting session for 20 people. Jim enthusiastically put his dinner guests to work, spurring them on eagerly and it certainly paid off as thousands of euros were raised in a single evening.
Once all the donating was out of the way, guests were invited to gamble their play money with professional dealers in a casino style set up. For those who were less competitive, the DJ kept spirits high on the dancefloor. Needless to say, the party continued into the wee hours of the morning.