Peace, Love & Wishes' event makes wishes come true for children

January 3, 2012

Contact: Sharee Lucius, Director of Marketing
(601) 936-1030   sharee.lucius@hma.com

To a young child, Disney World is the ultimate destination. It's a dream come true, whether you're a healthy girl living in Mississippi or a girl who, like 8-year-old Janiya Bowens of Jackson, has been diagnosed with an illness that curtails many activities enjoyed by girls her age. Sending young children like Janiya to the Magic Kingdom and providing other wishes is something the staff of Woman’s Hospital has been doing for several years through their annual fundraiser, “Peace, Love & Wishes.”

It’s not in the job description of this team comprised mostly of busy nurses and office personnel, they say bringing “peace, love and wishes” to those less fortunate, is a natural outpouring of their work.

“Through the course of our jobs we provide care to make patients better and that in itself is very rewarding,” said Jeanne Fortenberry, Woman’s chief nursing executive. “But many times we don’t actually get to see the end result of what we do. Annually working together to plan an event that raises money to make a dream come true for a sick child, then being able to present it to the child and seeing their joy is something we look forward to all year long.”

Many Woman’s Hospital employees and their guests were present at the 70’s-insprired theme party in December when Janiya learned Woman’s Hospital had granted her wish to visit Disney. Upon learning of the wish “reveal,” Janiya, who suffers from a condition called dermatomyositis, could hardly contain her excitement. Surrounded by a large crowd of well-wishers, hospital employees and other party-goers Janiya was, “very excited and happy,” according to Fortenberry.

“This is really a dream come true for her and for her family, who have been through so much as they’re cared for her during her lifetime,” said Fortenberry. “It was as exciting for us as it was for her family. It’s one of those events everyone at Woman’s wants to attend so they can see and experience the excitement along with the child and their family.”

Peace, Love & Wishes, a nod to the laid-back decade in which Americans wore psychedelic-colored clothes, includes a chance to dress is 70’s costumes, entertainment by a band, food and silent auction. Ticket sales and proceeds from the auction generated $12,000 this year, more than enough to pay for Janiya’s wish and enough for an additional child’s wis, Fortenberry said.

Since the program was initiated several years ago, several thousand dollars has been raised annually to grant wishes ranging from trips to Disney World to cruises to purchasing special items for the child’s home.

Fortenberry said she and other hospital officials were thrilled to see Janiya’s wish to travel to Disney come true. She added Disney is very accommodating to sick children when they visit by offering accommodations in top-rated hotels and giving them special privileges like dining with their favorite characters.

“Knowing that Janiya and her family will be able to go to Disney World and forget about her illness for a little while means a lot to us,” Fortenberry said. “And, our Peace, Love & Wishes event was the perfect send-off to reveal her wish and let her know we wish her the best as she gets ready for the trip of a lifetime.”

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