The Wishing Well Foundation Inc.
Holiday Celebration Party
Where: Children's Hospital at Lee Memorial Health Park, room No. 201, 9981 S. Healthpark Drive, Fort Myers
When: 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3
Call: Vicki Torbush at 213-0397 for reservations
Angels Over Stan's
What: Fundraiser with dancing, music, live and silent auctions and raffles
Where: Stan's Idle Hour Restaurant, 221 Goodland Drive W., Goodland
When: 1 to 6 p.m. Feb. 18
The Wishing Well Foundation Inc.
Mail donations to: 5051 Castello Drive, suite 1, Naples, FL 34103 For more: Call 213-0397 or visit www.wishingwellfoundation.com
Children continually ask Vicki Torbush when the annual fashion show will be held. Torbush is the chief executive officer of The Wishing Well Foundation that has held the Fashion Pizzazz for the past four years.
The children the organization grants wishes for who have life-threatening illnesses model in the show.
"And now I have to call them and say now you can't and break these kid's hearts," Torbush said.
The foundation was told this week that the Hideaway Beach Club is not allowing outsiders to hold functions during season. The fashion show was booked for Jan. 30 at Hideaway Beach in January 2005.
Torbush said everything elsewhere is booked and the fashion show is one of their largest fundraisers of the year. Last year she said they raised about $25,000.
"So, how many wishes won't be granted," she said. "We're just devastated."
Torbush said they could move the fashion show if there's another available location, but the foundation would have to recoup the expenses for the tickets and brochures that have already been printed.
The foundation grants wishes that averages around $1,500. Torbush said the fashion show fundraiser could grant wishes for about 16 children.
Torbush founded The Wishing Well Foundation in 1994 with her mother, Mimi Torbush. The foundation has granted more than 400 wishes since it began. The organization is made up of community volunteers who create cherished moments for children in Collier and Lee counties.
The foundation fulfills wishes of Collier and Lee counties children between the ages of 3 and 18 with a life-threatening illness.
"As far as we know we're the only organization in the nation that will grant a second wish if the child relapses or is having a tough time," Torbush said.
She added that since the child that is ill usually receives all the attention, the foundation supports the family. Ninety-three percent of the funds raised go to the families.
The Wishing Well Foundation has had a Ben & Jerry's ice cream party and will be having a holiday celebration party in December.
Children are referred to the foundation by their physician, nurse, social worker, parents and legal guardians.
There are 75 volunteers who participate in fundraising, visiting children at the Children's Hospital at Lee Memorial Health Park, and working at events. The organization also has ongoing contact with families with cards, phone calls, special surprise gifts and events.
"Once our volunteers join us, they stay with us," Torbush said. "So, we think of it as a family."
Torbush said most of the volunteers are full-time employees who donate their time. To support the foundation people also can help find local children who qualify, sponsor or participate in a fundraising event, become a wish grantor or volunteer and donate goods and services.
"We have the nicest volunteers because it's fun to work at our events." Torbush said. "It's like getting together with family putting on an event."