Our annual Murder Mystery Dinner is Saturday, Feb. 6 at New Berlin Banquet Center. The ticket office is closed. If you have any questions, please contact Rotarian Stephanie Friemoth. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-786-9897.
Granting a wish and leaving a lasting memory
Tom Chirafisi's calling--and a new cause--was borne out of a "mid-life crisis." Working in the family business, Paragon Printing & Graphics
of Milwaukee, his professional life was going well. Yet at age 30, Chirafisi wondered, "What's my purpose?"
His thought was prompted by a personal incident. In 2000, his grandmother Lorraine Chirafisi was dying of breast cancer. Content with her life, she had just one wish: to treat her family to a vacation in Hawaii. Lorraine returned so energized she lived another year. The family took another trip, this time to Disney World®, before she passed.
In 2008, while reflecting on his grandmother's final wish, Chirafisi asked himself: Is there an organization like Make-A-Wish® for adults? Seeing none, he started one. And realized a calling.
Eternal Wish Foundation grants wishes to adults with life-threatening illnesses. Wishes granted are as varied at the recipients themselves.
One recipient asked to attend a Duke University home basketball game. He got his wish.
A Kenny Chesney fan wanted to meet her idol. Chesney's PR team said that wasn't possible. With some prodding from Chirafisi--who mentioned that Eternal Wish Foundation was a 501(c)(3) organization--the woman's dream came true.
Another recipient was unable to leave Wisconsin due to her debilitating illness. Eternal Wish arranged for her to visit Disney World.
One of their first wishes came from Grace Martin of New York. Terminally ill with cancer, Martin hoped to publish her book, "Broken Wing." It's a story of a Native American boy who learns how to overcome his disabilities. Martin got her wish. In turn, she just asked everyone to extend an act of kindness to a stranger.
Copies of "Broken Wing" have shown up in an orphanage in Africa and a homeless shelter in New York. "I never dreamed it would go this far," Chirafisi says.
Chirafisi believes strongly in the power of giving. "When you give outside yourself," he says, "you receive it back ten-fold."
Headquartered in Milwaukee, the foundation's reach extends beyond Wisconsin. One board member, for example, lives and ministers in South Dakota. The foundation is on solid final footing, Chirafisi says, but is always open to donations. A September gala raises funds and gives recipients a chance to meet their new "familiy." Staffed entirely by volunteers, Eternal Wish is always looking for others to get involved.
Rotarian Erica Moranski provided an update on New Berlin Junior Woman's Club's plans for Malone Park. The design for the new playground will be unveiled at New Berlin West on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Design firm Play By Design will select from entries submitted by New Berlin students that day.
Construction of the new, all-inclusive playground will be an all-volunteer effort. Build week is May 16-22. Moranski estimates they will need 1,000 volunteers working in three shifts of 40-60 people each.