“I wish to”…… imagine if you are a parent and your young child said these words. As a father of three, I know how I would react and my first thought would be how am I going to get it done?
For those parents that hear the words, “I wish” … and have heard them from their child who is battling a life-threatening medical condition, my heart is sympathetic, saddened and it makes me want to help, but how can one help? The best answer is through Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. This network of professional staff and community volunteers have been granting wishes since 1980 with great passion.
My name is Jeff Stokes and I am an auctioneer. I make a living by selling things all around the U.S. and I make a life by finding purpose helping charitable causes. I see a lot of good in this world given the line of work I do, but recently I was humbled and reminded of some special individuals and groups who I believe deserve our support and applause for all the good they do: Make-A-Wish, the Agent “C” family, Alaska Airlines, and many generous people and volunteers.
Let me start with Agent “C”, his name is Colby and he is a 13-year-old boy with a life-threatening condition called spinal muscular atrophy. If his wish was to travel to the moon and Make-A-Wish heard about it, they would create an out-of-this-world wish experience. In this case, Colby’s wish was to be a Secret Agent and Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington set out to make this dream come true. The wish adventure begins with Colby going to the top of the Space Needle (another generous supporter of Make-A-Wish and children) and while he was there an incident transpired 500 feet below; the evil Seattle super villain Rex Velvet had infiltrated our city. As Colby looked out the window from high above, he saw a cryptic message from Rex indicating trouble was brewing. Rex was hosting a super villain party that night and Colby was needed to infiltrate it. But, he couldn’t go dressed in plain clothes. He needed to blend in so it was off to get outfitted for a tuxedo at Brooks Brothers and then to the lair party where Rex kidnapped another fellow agent and Blitz, the Seattle Seahawks’ mascot. With our city in trouble, his duty awaited. His first task was to go to the forensics lab for fingerprint testing and track the villain to rescue Blitz. This wasn’t easy, but Agent “C” enthusiastically took on the challenge.
Once he had his facts gathered, he was ready to track down the evil Rex. He was whisked off in a helicopter to search the city for the evil villain and while flying about Lake Washington he spotted him in a speed boat with Blitz in captivity. Agent “C” and his pilot were in hot pursuit and tracked him down to a local air strip and a battle ensued. Agent “C” had him trapped, but Rex escaped luckily not before Agent “C” was able to save our beloved mascot Blitz for all of us Seattleites. We weren’t sure where Rex Velvet would turn up next, but we knew Agent “C” was ready for him.
On March 9th of this year, at The Westin Seattle Hotel, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington hosted the Wish Night Gala and Auction with more than 1,000 people present to benefit the local chapter and the many children it serves. Giving came with a spirit of enthusiasm and selflessness; this giving translated to enough funding to support 40% of the chapter’s wishes this year. While auctioning the 31 items, everything was going great until about item #5, then, to all of our surprise guess who shows up?… Yes, the evil Rex Velvet. Our celebrity MC, Tom Hutyler was powerless and was interrupted as Rex infiltrated through our audio and video screens to announce that he was here to stop the event and Agent “C” from going further. The good news was Agent “C” was present and took the problem into his own hands. As we continued the auction to our featured item, the children’s wish art, the first to be offered was 9 year old Anna’s, and her art piece saw a large demand and fetched $4,750. The 2nd artist being featured was Colby’s piece, and it was unveiled to all of our surprise to have a photo of Rex Velvet in its stead. At that very moment, Rex once again took over our air ways to appear upon video screens to state he had the piece, and we would never auction it off as he promised he was out to get even with Agent “C” and stop fund raising for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. Agent “C” with the help of others went to work to retain the art and save the celebration. While we cautiously went ahead with auctioning the 3rd piece of art, we witnessed spirited giving again and a $10,000 bid won the special item.
As we were almost coming to the end of our auction, we were once again interrupted by evil Rex. We witnessed the villain jump up on our stage, boo’s and hissing followed from the crowd showing distaste for his actions. Agent “C” and his friends went right into action and a Silly-String fight ensued. In the end Agent “C” had captured the evil Rex and his piece of art and calmness was returned. Colby’s art had hundreds of supporters and the gavel fell at $12,000 to a very generous bidder. In the end, evil Rex will never again be able to take our city’s coveted mascots or stop such worthy events like this, all because of the quick action of Agent “C” and friends. As you can imagine, this night was a most special night in so many ways, with people working together to make a child’s wish come true, the generosity came from so many and too numerous to list.
But please allow me to share with you another group of people that I want to salute, the people and families of Alaska Airlines. Their own President, Brad Tilden was in attendance with many others at three Alaska Airlines tables. Guests included Jeff Butler who is a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington board member and a passionate supporter of this mission and cause.
Touching down at SeaTac airport this morning I peered out my airplane window to see the Alaska Airlines jet with the Make-A-Wish logo proudly enveloping the entire plane. I am proud to be a Million Mile flyer on an airline that supports such wonderful charities. I send this note today as an unsolicited choice to recognize generosity beyond expectations, to thank so many silent soldiers with the paramount goal that brings happiness and a smile to a child through a wish and most importantly… their wish.
If you would like to view Colby’s wish, please follow this link: Colby: I wish to be a secret agent! – YouTube
Thank you to all of you that support Make-A-Wish Washington and Alaska and for all you do to serve the greater good, make the world a better place, and the selfless giving that we witness on nights like this, nights where we all come together and make “wishes come true.” Jeff Stokes