Dream Come True telethon raises $74,749
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS George Roberts, a host of the Dream Come True Telethon, accepts a check for $18,255 from Barbara Finley. The money is from the Becky's Drive In fundraiser. Finley has been an employee at Becky's for nearly 40 years.
The Dream Come True-Blue Ridge Chapter telethon Sunday night was a success, raising $74,749, with some donations still coming in. That is up almost $30,000 from 2012's total.
The telethon was carried by Blue Ridge Communications TV-13 and Service Electric in the Tamaqua area.
The funds raised during the telethon will help fulfill dreams of children living in Carbon County and surrounding areas.
The amount raised this year was close to 2010, when the telethon raised $80,840.
Many of the children who are granted dreams choose to spend time visiting Florida attractions or ask for a shopping spree or want to meet an entertainment or sports celebrity.
Shawn Miller, 9, and his mother, Jody Serfass, were among the children and families who appeared on the telethon. Shawn's mother said that her son's dream was to go to Disney World and that it made such an impact on his life.
She said Shawn has many health issues that he has to deal with on a daily basis.
The largest donation of $18,255 was presented by Barbara Finley. She said that she has been an employee of Becky's Drive In for nearly 40 years and her heart has always been in helping Dream Come True.
"My grandson, Joey Zellner, was 9 years old when he passed away," she said. "He would have been 34 years old this year and his death still feels like it was yesterday."
Wayne Halliday presented $16,101, raised during the United Dream Ride, which was held Sunday, Sept. 15. The ride was held from Gilbert to Knoebels Grove in Elysburg. Halliday, organizer of the event, said the concept for the run grew from his thoughts of using his love of riding motorcycles to help raise funds for Dream Come True.
The reason behind his passion is because he truly understands what parents feel when their child dies. His daughter, Emily, never grew up to have a dream. She died at 2 months of age and her death continues to inspire him to help other children realize their dreams.
Tony Wolfe, a father mourning the death of his young son, was able to put his grieving heart to work by organizing the Hunter Wolfe Memorial Golf Tournament on July 15 at Woodstone Country Club, Danielsville.
Wolfe's son was only 12 years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2010. He passed away July 7, 2011, just 16 days away before his 13th birthday.
Wolfe presented a donation of $13,318 at the telethon.
Some of the other larger donations included $4,997 raised at the sausage stand at the Palmerton Community Festival; $4,650 raised during the Bath Motorcycle Run; $2,015 raised at the Prom Gown and Wedding Gown Sale, held at Penn's Peak; $1,661 raise by Mountain Karate Academy by students hosting a Kick-A-Thon at Carbon Plaza; and $1,300 raised at the Carbon County Ocktoberfest, $1,760 from the Walnutport Playground ballgame; $700 from the Free Spirit Chapter of Pa.; $610 from the 2012 Breakfast with Santa.
Dream Maker Awards were presented to outstanding volunteers who served the organization for three years or more. The 2013 Dream Maker Award recipients were Wendy Borger, who chaired the sausage stand at the Palmerton Festival; Wayne Haliday, who has done numerous fundraising events and the United Dream Ride in 2013; Veterans Discount Oil LLC, Marc's Auto, and Ohl's Fuel Oil, for assisting with fundraising for many years.
Entertainment included Tommy Zito, Blue Mountain Community Church, Angela Nardini, Dance With Kim Studio, Mountain Karate Academy, Lisa Durgala, Main Street Cruisers with Lenny Longo, Beth Miller Turner, Nevada's Loft with Donna Parsons, Pat MGeehan and son Shawn, Beth (Miller) Turner and Joy Miller; Jean Andrews and American Dream, Erin Kelly and Lynn Dehaven, Kristal Nemeroff, Leaders of the Press and Arthur Terembula.
Eileen Thompson, president of the Dream Come True, Blue Ridge Chapter, said the organization completed five dreams so far this year, with six already approved for next year and three children in various stages of paperwork required before dream approval.
Thompson also noted that five children, who have had dreams fulfilled, took advantage of the Scholarship Program for four years at an accredited school. Two children have also completed the scholarship program.
Eligible scholarship recipients receive $1,000 a semester for a total of four years at an accredited school for a maximum of $8,000.
Thompson added that the local chapter also has a funeral subsidy, which has helped to pay expenses for three children since the chapter's inception.
The chapter also provides a holiday party and a summer outing for recipients. This year there was also a night at the Iron Pigs ballgame with a buffet dinner on the PPL patio.
Dream Come True-Blue Ridge Chapter helps children who are seriously, chronically or terminally ill. A form is available on the website or by mailing a letter to Dream Come True, Blue Ridge Chapter, P.O. Box 344, Palmerton, PA 18071. Volunteer applications are also available on the website or by calling 610-826-4080.
Credit card contributions can be made on the Dream Come True, Blue Ridge Chapter website at dreamcometrue-brc.org.
Telethon sponsors for 2013 were: William G. Schwab Law Offices, PenTeleData, George LaRose Insurance LTD, Jim Thorpe National Bank, Ackley-Sweeney Advertising, Rentschler Chevrolet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Foundation, Foster Jewelers; First Northern Bank & Trust, R.F. Ohl and Country Inn and Suites.