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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Rob Bava raised his bidder paddle high as a surprise to his wife when the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” package hit the auction block at the 2018 Dream Makers Ball. This phenomenal item, donated by the Somerset Collection Tiffany and Company and Lavdas Limousine, included a private breakfast and shopping experience for five lucky individuals.

“I knew right away I wanted it to be a gift to my wife and three daughters,” shares Rob just before he raised a glass toasting his beautiful family.

Thanks to Lavdas, the Bava family arrived to the event in a limousine.  Breakfast was served in the center of the Tiffany & Company store. Plum Market catered the breakfast and served the same menu as the Blue Box Café in New York. The guests even got to select a piece of jewelry to wear while they dined!

Following breakfast, Rob and his family had a private shopping experience. The ladies tried on every jewel that caught their eye and spent the morning draped in diamonds! As they were preparing to leave, the Tiffany staff surprised the family with individual gifts from the new Tiffany & Company china line.

Thanks to Tiffany and Company, Plum Market and Lavdas Limousine the Bava family created memories they will cherish for a lifetime.

Don’t miss out on amazing items like this!  Tickets are on sale NOW for the 2019 Dream Makers Ball, May 11 at MGM Grand Detroit. 

 

5th Annual Clash for a Cause raises over $16,000 to Grant Wishes

The 5th Annual Clash for Cause was a huge success, raising over $16,000 to grant wishes!

The Rainbow Connection was blown away by the generosity of the Lakeland Eagles and Walled Lake Northern Hockey communities.

Former wish recipient, Blake Jackson spearheaded the fundraising tournament and played for the Lakeland hockey team. At the end of the game, each player presented his jersey to a loved one at center ice. TRC is grateful for the dedication of former wish recipients who continue to stay connected with the mission by fundraising and volunteering.

With a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and matching gift from Pepsi, this event will have a big impact for TRC in granting wishes for Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions.

Read more about the event and Blake’s story here.

3,500 Wish Donated by Former Wish Recipient

The Rainbow Connection announces two milestones this week!  First, Elliana (Ellie) will become the 3,500th Rainbow Connection Wish Child to receive a wish. Second, Ellie’s wish is being sponsored by former wish recipient and 15-year cancer survivor Nadine Bazzi who went on her Rainbow Connection Wish trip to Disney World with her family in 2002.

Ellie is currently receiving treatment for Leukemia. Her wish is to go to Disney World to “meet the princesses, go on all of the rides, and eat lots of ice cream!” Nadine, the sponsor of Ellie’s wish, decided to pursue her dream of giving back to those who helped her along her cancer journey. She started a Go Fund Me page with a goal of raising $5,000 to sponsor the wish of another child. Not only did Nadine meet her fundraising goal, but she doubled it. TRC  is grateful to so many Wish Children who, as they get older, stay connected with the mission and give back through fundraising and volunteering.

“The magic continues at The Rainbow Connection”, Wish Director Ingrid Todt said.  “We are so proud of Nadine, her accomplishments and her dedication in making Ellie’s wish come true!”

Wish Child Nadine Surpasses $5,000 Fundraising Goal and Grants Two Wishes!

We are grateful to so many of our wish children who, as they get older, look to support our mission through fundraising and/or volunteering. Nadine is a 15-year cancer survivor who went on her wish trip to Disney with her family in 2002.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nadine and today marks my 15-year anniversary as a Cancer Survivor. This milestone in my life has inspired me to share my story and my wish with you.

When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. After I was diagnosed, I began treatment which lasted about two years. During this span, I lost a lot of my hair, and taking medications was a daily routine for me. My life changed and my family’s lives changed as well. This bump in the road shaped me into the person I am today, and the hardships I endured has given me a new perspective on life. Being a cancer survivor has played a huge role in helping me figure out my purpose in life.  My past has helped me realize what is important and it has helped me understand just how precious life is. It taught me that no matter what, you should always be grateful for the little things you have because your life can change in a second.

I have been inspired by so many doctors and nurses over the last fifteen years and in a couple years I will be able to work alongside all the amazing people who have always cared for me.  After my treatment with chemotherapy, my family was approached by an organization called The Rainbow Connection (TRC). This organization offers children with life threatening medical conditions the opportunity to make a wish. I was granted a wish and I chose to take a trip to Disney World with my family.

TRC did everything in their power to make sure our trip was perfect. From the limo ride to the airport, to our flight and hotel, TRC made me feel like a little princess and forget about all the bad that was going on in my life. Going on this trip made me forget about the cancer. It made me forget about the nurses, the doctors, the needles, the shots, and my hair loss.  I forgot about all the bad stuff and I got to be a kid. This opportunity enlightened the situation I was in and looking back, it made me realize that there truly is good in every bad situation. I don’t think I would be who I am today without this hardship and I thank god every day for everything I have been blessed with. TRC made my wish come true and the memories I made because of them are irreplaceable.

At the end of 2018, Nadine decided to pursue her dream of giving back to those who helped her along her cancer journey. She started a Go Fund Me page with a goal of raising $5,000 to sponsor the wish of another child. We are thrilled to report that Nadine not only met her goal, but surpassed it by double! With Nadine’s help, TRC will be able to grant the wishes of two Michigan children battling a life-threatening medical condition!

Thank you, Nadine, for your dedication and passion to give back to others in such a meaningful way.

TRC Receives Seventh Consecutive 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

The Rainbow Connection has received a 4-star rating for the seventh consecutive year from Charity Navigator, an honor only 5% of charities receive. Charity Navigator is the largest independent charity evaluator and assesses non-profits by their fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency.

After Charity Navigator’s review, TRC earned 96 points out of 100 overall; 97.50 for financial management and 96 for accountability and transparency. As the non-profit marketplace becomes more competitive, there is an increased demand from donors for greater accountability and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support.

The generous support donors provide TRC is invaluable. 86% of every dollar goes toward wish program expenses and in 2019, ensuring that these dollars continue to be allocated in a responsible way is of the upmost importance to TRC staff and Board of Directors.

Check out our Charity Navigator profile to learn more: bit.ly/2Cl4r0m

TRC Selected as a 2018 Impact 100 Oakland County Grant Receipient

The Rainbow Connection is honored to be selected as a 2018 Impact100 Oakland County grant recipient!  This $90,000 award will support our Impact Kit Program to help Oakland County wish families struggling to meet basic living expenses because of their child’s diagnosis.  Each Kit will be tailored to a family’s documented financial needs and will include assistance with gas, food, parking, public transportation and other emergency needs. George Miller, Executive Director, adds “This group has made it possible to address the quiet suffering these families are dealing with.”

Thank you Impact100 Oakland County for your generous support of our wish families!

A Month of Fun-Filled Enhancements for TRC Wish Families

The Rainbow Connection promises “A Wish and More” for our families…but what does More mean?  Whenever possible, The Rainbow Connection tries to be a positive presence in our wish families’ lives by providing fun opportunities. This past month, The Rainbow Connection was honored to participate in SIX exciting enhancements!

Ray Wiegand’s Nursery & Garden Center hosts a Harvest Fest for wish families every year. It was a beautiful fall night filled with pumpkins, donuts, cider and face painting.

The Venetian Club Halloween Party is another annual event for our wish families and this year was another spook-tacular event! There was festive food, costumes and fun times all around.

Our friends at Merlin’s Magic Wand, a charity that supports children facing challenges of serious illness, disability or adversity around the world, provided tickets to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and Michigan Sea Life Aquarium.

Project Beautiful – Inside and Out hosted a VIP experience for ten of our wish families at M-1 concourse. TRC families had a blast taking thrill rides in a Viper and Hellcat, racing remote control cars, dancing to live music and more!

What could be more fun than a private gaming party in your PJs? Thanks to our friends at Microsoft, that is exactly what our wish kids experienced. There was food, music, face painting and games galore.

Finally, we are able to give out many Piston’s tickets to our wish families throughout the season. This year, we sent a family to the season home opener and it just happened to be the family’s first ever Piston’s game!

A huge thank you to all these wonderful organizations for providing opportunities for our wish families to spend quality time and make magical memories together. To learn more about The Rainbow Connection, follow us on Facebook at @rainbowconnectionmichigan

 

 

Five Everyday Ways to Make a Difference at The Rainbow Connection

Five Everyday Ways to Make a Difference at The Rainbow Connection

Looking for a way to get involved with The Rainbow Connection? These five giving opportunities incorporate everyday activities like shopping online or browsing Facebook to make dreams come true!

  1. Facebook Fundraisers

Facebook has made it super easy to start a fundraising page and share it will your friends! Click “Fundraisers” in the left menu of your news Feed, Click “Raise Money”, Select “Nonprofit/Charity” and choose The Rainbow Connection. Share your TRC story with all your Facebook friends and help make dreams come true!

For the month of September, every person who creates a Facebook Fundraiser and raises at least $50 will be entered to win a Rainbow Birthday Cookie Bouquet from Cookies by Design!

2. Car Donation Program

Turn your wheels into wishes! To donate your vehicle simply complete this online form or give us a call at 248-218-5306 and an experienced staff member will walk you through the car donation process. You will receive a tax deduction for the Kelly Blue Book Private Seller Value. Best of all, you can feel great knowing that your old wheels turned into a wish come true.

3. Monthly Giving

Monthly giving is both impactful and easy! You will be granting wishes for Michigan children each month. Start monthly donations by donating here and choose the option for “recurring” support or simply call 248-601-9474. Your monthly gift will automatically be charged to your credit card and we will gladly make a change at anytime.

4. Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, their Foundation will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to your charity of choice. To select The Rainbow Connection (TRC), simply set up a profile at smile.amazon.com and select TRC as your charitable organization.

5. Kroger Rewards

Are you a Kroger shopper? If you have a Kroger Rewards Card, you can help TRC! Select the Rainbow Connection as your charitable organization at Kroger.com/account/enrollCommunityRewardsNow. Every time you shop and swipe your Kroger Rewards Card, Kroger makes a contribution to TRC.

For more information visit our website www.rainbowconnection.org or follow our Facebook Page @RainbowConnectionMichigan

Batman Inspires Danny to be his own Hero

Wish Child Danny reflects on his wish experience and his inspiration to Walk for Kids next month.

What I learned from my experience, more than anything, is that anything can happen to you. I had no family history of any kind of cancer, yet there I was with a brain tumor. I never would have imagined that I would spend more time in the hospital than at school during my senior year of high school.

I also never thought that I would drive a Batmobile in my life. That was my wish. Being a gigantic Batman fan since the age of two, I always dreamed of driving a Batmobile. Although it wasn’t an average wish, it was incredibly special to me.

I have seen replicas of the 1996 Batmobile a few times in my life, but never got to touch one. So, when I got to the garage that the car was held in, (I didn’t know that is where we were going at the time, my parents made it a surprise) my one question was “Can I touch it?” Once I did, I burst into tears of joy.

It was the greatest thing to ever have happened to me. Batman was my symbol of hope in my fight with cancer. He was the thing that reminded me and inspired me to keep fighting. What is more Batman like than driving a Batmobile!? Which the owner eventually let me do! I felt like I was able to be my own hero, like I had the strength to beat cancer.

Next month, I am walking in the Walk for Kids because of all the amazing things that Rainbow Connection did for me. They gave me the opportunity to meet the people that inspired me to fight against my cancer as hard as I could. It was an amazing experience to thank those people for what they gave to me.

Join Danny at Walk for Kids on Sunday, September 23rd! For more info and to sign-up click here.

 

The Simple Things: Olivia’s Reflection on her Summer Internship

When I learned I had gotten the position as an intern for The Rainbow Connection this summer, I had no idea what to truly expect. I was in the midst of preparing for finals at my college, Ohio University, and wrapping up my freshman year. My friends were in the room with me when I received the call informing me that I’d gotten the internship, and they were jumping up and down with me, just as excited as I was.

 First, I’d like to make it clear that the wish kids I had the privilege of meeting in Michigan are unlike any other children I’ve ever known. When you talk to them, you feel something. They emanate hope, gratefulness, and empathy from their souls. They are kind, funny, and quick to help others. They are mature in a way some adults aren’t, in that they have seen the worst sides of life and still choose to smile.

 I imagined I would learn so many things at The Rainbow Connection—how to create files for kids, collect donations, and maybe even help grant a wish! Little did I know, those lessons would pale in comparison to the bigger, more important lesson I learned during my time here at Rainbow—the unimportance of guarantee.

 As a planner, I have always stressed (even lost sleep) over the worry that things will not go according to my plans. That all of my detailed notes about a day will be destroyed by an unexpected storm or inconvenience to deal with. What I learned from the wish children of Rainbow, however, is just how silly it is to try to plan everything. After all, the best moments are the moments we don’t expect.

 In life, we are not guaranteed anything. We are not guaranteed tomorrow or the next day. We are not guaranteed the next hour. Those of us who do not have life-threatening illnesses often live in the fantasy land that we have forever—until we are ninety or one hundred, or perhaps even one hundred and fifty if modern medicine continues its advancements. But these children find joy in the smallest of moments. Whether their lives are still endangered by their conditions or not, these kids act as if every moment they are living is a gift—of that I am confident, because it is the only explanation for the joy they radiate.

 Since my internship, I have found myself smiling at smaller moments. I see the beauty in things I did not before. I am thankful for unexpected hard rainfall because it saves me a trip to the car wash. I smile when I get to spend time alone, writing, because these quiet moments I’ve been granted are not my right, but a gift. And in everything I do, I think of the kids who completely transformed the way I see life, and redefined living life to the fullest.

 They taught me that there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be having fun every day—and I think that is the best lesson I ever could have learned.