15 Upstate women come together to bring hope to critically ill children

January 17, 2024

On January 11, 2024, dynamic women from the Upstate came together to kickoff Make-A-Wish South Carolina’s 2024 season of W.I.S.H. Society.

Each lady was named an Honoree in the program celebrating Women Inspiring Strength and Hope. W.I.S.H. Society was created by Make-A-Wish South Carolina to bring professional and visionary women together in collaboration to raise vital funds for children with critical illnesses. From January until April the ladies will raise funds and awareness for wish granting in South Carolina. During that time, each woman will endeavor to raise funds to fully fund a wish, which is $7,500 in South Carolina.

Photo credit: Marissa Elaine Photography

Make-A-Wish creates wishes for children with critical illnesses. Wishes deliver hope and rejuvenating strength that help children fight harder against their illnesses. In fact, 9 out of 10 wish alumni reported that they felt more joyful, confident and hopeful for their future*. W.I.S.H. Society Honorees will make a tangible investment in the wellness of local families’ lives.

In addition to granting wishes, Honorees enter a fellowship of likeminded charismatic and intelligent women and enjoy great camaraderie and collaboration. Each month, Make-A-Wish hosts fun socials offering the opportunity for Honorees to grow their relationships, strategize over fundraising plans, and most importantly, be inspired by amazing stories of resilience from wish families. At the end of the Society’s season, the program will culminate in a May luncheon celebrating the achievements of each Honoree and naming a Woman of the Year, who is the Honoree that raised the largest amount of funds.

The Upstate kickoff was held at Carter Family Wines. Honorees enjoyed a delicious wine tasting and had the privilege of hearing from guest speaker, wish alum Liz Lofurno. Liz shared her incredible story of overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma and how the power of her wish helped turn the narrative of her cancer journey.

Make-A-Wish South Carolina is proud to announce our official 2024 Upstate W.I.S.H. Society Honorees are:

Nicki Barnett
Imaging Manager, Bon Secours Mercy Health

Keaira Huffman
Realtor, Allen Tate Realtors

Elizabeth Lapidus
Realtor, Akers and Associates

Carson League
Bar Manager, Vault & Vator

Judy Lofurno
Business Director, Headquarters Physical Therapy

Kim Maeshack
Manager, Communications & Events, Jadex, Inc.

Casey McCullough
Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Bunnell-Lammons Engineering

Suzanne McGee
Project and Sale Operations Facilitator, Michelin

Katlyn Middleton & Anna Poole
General Manager, Culvers

Alison Rauch
Public Information Coordinator, Greer Commission of Public Works

Pattie Sanchez
Director, Pharmacy and Retail Operations, Walgreen Co.

Vanessa Thomas
Inside Sales, McNaughton McKay Electric Company

Caitlin Townsend
Health and Welfare Consultant, Assured Partners

Kimmi Warga
Realtor, EXP Realty

Joi Wilson
Owner, Joi’s Juice LLC

We are also pleased to note that three Honorees are wish moms, having a child who received a wish through Make-A-Wish.

“I am incredibly proud of our 2024 Honorees,” said Amanda Osborne, VP of mission advancement for Make-A-Wish South Carolina. “They are stepping up to the plate and sometimes, outside of their comfort zones, because they know that wish kids need them as advocates. Each of the women are impressive individually, and together, their potential is exponential. I am very excited to witness what they accomplish this season.”

To support an Honoree, please visit scwishsociety.org. Learn more about Make-A-Wish and ways to help at wish.org/sc.

Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We are on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness. The chapter receives funding through private donations, individuals, companies, and special events. For more information about Make-A-Wish South Carolina, visit wish.org/sc and discover ways you can help make wishes come true.

*Source: Make-A-Wish 2022 Wish Impact Study (Rounded Figures)