More than 2000 participants: volunteers and children, came to The Tanglewood Festival of Lights in Clemmons, N.C. on Nov. 16. But it wasn't just to welcome the holiday season. Instead, they came to Walk for Wishes, a 5K-walk fundraiser to help raise money for the local branch of Make-A-Wish. They raised $120,000, which will go toward granting wishes for more than 200 children in the local community.

"It's great we have the community outreach to be able to touch these volunteers and give them a chance to kind of give back in a way that's meaningful to them," Stephanie Leeper, Marketing and Communications manager of the Central and Western North Carolina branch of Make-A-Wish, said.

The community outreach was very strong at Walk for Wishes. Local companies and families started "walk teams" to help raise money for the foundation, some as big as 180 members. Stores and restaurants sponsored tents at the event and even Santa Claus came to the event to show his support. The community involvement was even more apparent when a huge crowd gathered to watch a special boy's wish be granted.

Although Benjamin Easter could not be at the event, due to complications with his illness, his wish of being a pirate at Disney World was granted by a dozen pirates who came onto the stage that Saturday evening.

Through the money raised at Walk for Wishes, many more children's wishes will be granted in the Triad community.

For more information about North Carolina's branch of Make-A-Wish, please visit http://nc.wish.org.


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