August 31, 2010

Update: Make-a-Wish Foundation Walk & Run earns $80,000

Team Bu-Streva Co-Captains Brad Kostreva and Kristy Buus (Gabe’s brother and sister). Brad is wearing the “Goofy Hat” that Gabe wore when Make-a-Wish granted his wish and sent them to Disney World in 1987.

Editor's Note: This is a follow-up story to Brad's story, "Memories of a Wish Kid, Gabriel Wayne Kostreva," which was published Aug. 20 on RacinePost. 

By Brad Kostreva

The 2010 Walk & Run for Wishes Raises over $80,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation

Friday night was a quiet, low key night for me. My dog and I simply ate a quiet dinner (well, mine was quiet, she is actually a noisy eater) and then relaxed for a bit before calling it a night a little earlier than normal. In nine hours, my sister, her husband and their kids would be over for a quick pre-run breakfast, where assuredly, I would need to provide a hint of coffee for asking them to wake up so early on a Saturday.
Day of the walk

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 6am, and I woke up after a fantastic sleep. The day had arrived for the Walk for Wishes. In reality, it’s a simple 5k walk/run in Milwaukee, one of several that occur every year near the lakefront. But this one was certainly different. In my attempt to do something active and healthy, I quite innocently chose an event off of a flyer I got at Summerfest this year that mentioned an organization I was familiar with. I honestly hadn’t known the emotions and memories that participation in this specific event would bring up. Not just within myself, but my entire family, my friends, and many readers of the different internet sites that Gabe’s story was redistributed.

At last count, I believe Gabe’s story was “shared” on Facebook several dozen times (that I know of – I found out at the event that others had shared it and I hadn’t even known! Even Vince Condella knew my sister and I by name because he had read and shared the story on his Facebook page), we received very kind comments and emails and memories of my brother, and a lot of support from many different people. This includes many people we had never met before but were touched by Gabe’s story and the work Make-a-Wish had done with our family and continues to do. Gabe’s wish in 1987 was the 58th Wish granted by the foundation. Since 1984, they have granted nearly 4000 Wishes.

Team Bu-Streva - (Left to Right and relationship to Gabe)
Brad Kostreva (Brother), Shannon Jevorutsky (Cousin), Linda Bradle (Aunt), Jim Bradle (crouching, Uncle), Andrew Buus (Step-Nephew-in-Law), Gavin Buus (Step-Nephew-in-Law), Tim Buus (Brother-in-Law), Kristy Buus (Sister), Matthew “Chuey” Rangel (Family Friend)

So we met some more family at the run (my aunt and uncle, cousin and a family friend), and took in quite a sight. I’m not sure I’ve done a 5k in Milwaukee since I was a little kid doing “Al’s Run” (well, “Al’s Walk” for me, I was 5 at the time), but the sheer number of people was quite amazing. This wasn’t like going to Summerfest and seeing gobs of people, this was seeing gobs of people nearly all there with an honest emotional purpose and investment. Participant Teams had signs decorated with pictures and messages to the Wish Kids they were walking in honor or support of, other teams had custom T-Shirts made…

(Anecdotally, there were also some people there who simply wanted to run another 5k, the cause was secondary. I met one guy who runs *all* of them and claimed he was addicted to Milwaukee 5k’s. I wonder if there’s a support group for them. Is a “12-Step Program” a pun at that point?)

So, thousands participated that day (for the record, I ran the 5k in a nothing-to-brag-about 27 minutes – though for my first 5k run ever, I’m not sad about it), and over $80,000 was raised from the event in donations!

Our team, Team Bu-Streva (sister’s last name “Buus”, my last name “Kostreva” – yeah, you get where I’m going with that one…) raised OVER $2600 in just 10 days and that’s THANKS TO YOU for supporting the foundation. It was never about us and our team, but rather the Make-a-Wish Foundation and everything they can accomplish. The organization is exceptionally highly rated in terms of non-profits, with 82.6% of every dollar raised going straight to Wish Granting.

As a final note, our team was considered a “Gold Star” team for having raised over $2500. For achieving that, we became the “sponsor” of a specific Wish Kid and were given a Gold Star with the Wish Kid’s name on it, as well as the story of his wish. Like my brother, this Wish Kid wants to go to Disney World in Florida. Later this year, a surprise limousine will pick up him and his family and drive them to the airport for their trip to Orlando. They will be staying at a special resort designed for Wish Kids called “Give Kids the World Village,” go the Disney Theme Parks, and have a special meal while down there with Mickey Mouse and friends. This Wish is able to be granted, not thanks to our team, but thanks to all of you who donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation via our team. In a personal note to us from Patti Gorsky, President of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin, she shared the following – which is a note to all of you who donated as much as it’s a letter to us.

“Thank you for all you have done to make wishes come true in Gabe’s memory. His legacy lives on through your efforts.”

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1 comment:

  1. I have just been informed by Make a Wish that the total is actually closer to the $150,000 range! Making something very cool, even cooler!