Celebrity Charity Wishes Inc. asks for $10 donations to raise money for Bears for Buddies Initiatives, their event that gives away teddy bears and special gift bags to terminally-ill children in Charlotte and Atlanta, Ga.One of the founders, Lenora Bobo said that new teddy bears cost $10 and it’s an amount that most people are able to donate.Celebrity Charity Wishes is a non-profit that grants wishes for terminally-ill children. The organization was created in honor of Brianna Watts, a 16-year-old Charlotte native who had Osteosarcoma and was being treated at the Levine Children’s Hospital. Shedied in February 2010.Watts was the first child to have wishes granted by the two women that founded the organization, Bobo and Toni “B” Brown.They were contacted by Brianna’s Godmother, Kim Patterson in 2009. Patterson asked them to help grant some of Watt’s wishes. Bobo and Brown hosted World Wide Flava - a Time Warner Cable Access celebrity show - from 2003-2007, so they were able to use industry connections to create a “Star for a Weekend” roundtrip to Atlanta for Watts to meet artists such as R&B singer Nee-Yo and actress Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson.Bobo and Brown said that Watts inspired them to continue to grant wishes for other children. Other than granting individual wishes, Bears for Buddies is their biggest annual event.Bears for Buddies, in its third year, takes place from 2-4 p.m. December 6 at Levine Children’s Hospital and follows with an award ceremony from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. At Levine Children’s Hospital, Celebrity Charity Wishes greets terminally-ill children and their families, provides entertainment and snacks, and hands out teddy bears and gift bags.The gift bags include journals, coloring books, hats and scarves, puzzles and card games, and family movies. Bobo said that some of the items on their wish list for the special bags are IPods and handheld games.There will also be celebrities on-site such as DJ Drama and Terrell and Wayne Riley. Last year Nick Cannon, rapper and host of America’s Got Talent, came to hang out with the children and their families. At the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, the 2013 Brianna Watts “Life-Time Achievement” Award will be given to Terrell and Wayne Riley—the Riley brothers are five-time Emmy award winning producers/directors at NASCAR Productions LLC. Celebrity Charity Wishes also stocks the house’s kitchen with non-perishables from its food drive.Sponsors offering help for the event include: The NASCAR Foundation, NASCAR Productions LLC, Prowler Magazine/Southern Sports Journal, NFL Players Association/Charlotte Chapter, National Panhellenic Council, Great Wolf Lodge and Walmart of Lexington, N.C.In the last two years, 300 terminally-ill children received teddy bears and special gift bags. This year, they will provide enough for 600 children. Bobo and Brown said that they need more sponsors to reach their goal.When talking about Bears for Buddies, Founder Brown said, “The families have such a big smile … so happy just to take a timeout, focusing on fun versus the illness.”Bobo said, “It’s life-changing for us to watch the kids … just to see a little smile. It keeps us moving.”
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013
Raising money for terminally-ill children in Charlotte
Learn more: For information or to make a donation to Celebrity Charity Wishes, visit www.celebritycharitywishes.org/. Drop-off nonperishables at Prowler Magazine, 2520 Sardis Road North, Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28227.
Crystal O’Gorman is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Crystal? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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