CSP Partners with The Marty Lyons Foundation to Help Grant Wishes and Inspire Hope
The past few months have been strange and challenging times for many of us. We’ve had to adapt to new ways of performing our everyday tasks and activities to help ensure our own health and safety - as well as that of others. For children living with a terminal or chronic life-threatening illness, every day presents an ongoing challenge to stay healthy, to stay connected and to stay positive.
Coastal Select Properties is honored to partner with Marty Lyons Foundation - North Carolina Chapter to help brighten the lives of these children and to inspire hope. MLF was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 1982 by former New York Jets’ defensive lineman, Marty Lyons, to make wishes become reality for children (ages 3 – 17) who have been diagnosed with terminal or chronic life-threatening illnesses. MLF is unique in that it will grant a second wish to a child that may have already had one wish fulfilled by another organization.
Since its inception, MLF has raised over $35 million and helped 8,000 families. It now has ten chapters covering 13 states. Local Cape Fear resident and business-owner, Lynne D’Eramo, operates the NC Chapter which is based right here in downtown Wilmington.
D’Eramo, the chapter president and a life-long New York Jets fan, was first introduced to MLF when she was living in Connecticut and a friend invited her to volunteer with her at an annual MLF fundraising event. In 2018, a decade later, D’Eramo found herself living in North Carolina, helping to run the local Port City Jets Fan Club in Wilmington and being approved to open and preside over a North Carolina chapter of MLF which serves all of North Carolina and South Carolina. D’Eramo is grateful for the amazing support from the community here in Wilmington as well as other parts of NC and SC. “We have granted over 14 wishes since becoming a chapter,” D’Eramo proudly states. “Unfortunately, we were unable to complete a few wishes due to the child’s passing before the wish was granted. We’ve also lost a few wish recipients shortly after their wish had been fulfilled.”
The foundation spends approximately $5500 per wish granted. Some of these wishes include trips to Disneyworld, meet-and-greets with celebrities, computers or gaming systems, swimming pools, shopping sprees and room makeovers. MLF headquarters works with a small staff of three paid employees; all other Executive Board and Chapter Presidents are unpaid volunteers. Of every $1 donation, $.90 goes directly to funding a child’s wish.
This past January, the chapter held a fundraiser/wish reveal party for two young wish recipients: one from Charlotte, NC and a 14-year-old boy, Eli from Lexington, SC. Eli had been receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer for most of his life. After relapsing three times, he and his family decided to stop treatment and instead focus on filling his life with adventure. Eli wished to go snowmobiling, so MLF-NC reached out to Big Sky Resort in Montana for help in making his wish a reality. The resort’s concierge team eagerly set to work and created an amazing experience for Eli, his parents and older brother. In early February, the entire family enjoyed riding snowmobiles, snowboarding, skiing, a family photo session and much more. Eli was further surprised by gifts from some of his favorite football and baseball teams! The family was able to forget about medical treatments and instead delight in a dose of fun and adventure together. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. A few short months later, Eli passed away. D’Eramo admits that granting wishes is immensely rewarding work, but it is not without its share of heartache.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on both granting travel wishes to wish recipients and on fundraising events which are critical to the success of the organization’s mission. Says D’Eramo, “most of our wish kids already have compromised immune systems so until travel is considered safe again, those wishes cannot be granted.” D’Eramo is planning upcoming fundraisers for the Fall and she is hopeful that MLF-NC will be able to host its 2nd Annual “Fore the Kids” Golf Tournament. MLF-NC welcomes prospective wish coordinators, event volunteers and, of course, monetary donations which are essential to making wishes come true. A simple way you can make a donation without it costing you anything is by shopping via www.Smile.Amazon.com and selecting Marty Lyons Foundation. 0.5% of each eligible purchase made is donated to the charitable organization.
If you are interested in learning more about Marty Lyons Foundation or becoming part of the wish-making team, contact Lynne D’Eramo, Chapter President at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-775-0555.