Blizzard, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, is organizing the fifth annual Skate for Wishes fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, less than one month after organizing an additional event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation on her school’s campus.
On Dec. 1, Blizzard raised funds for Make-A-Wish in the Florida heat by selling tickets to a temporary outdoor skating rink on the UCF campus.
At the UCF, Blizzard is majoring in hospitality, tourism management and event planning with a minor in nonprofit organizations.
The New Jersey fundraiser will be Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Flyers Skate Zone in Atlantic City. Blizzard is a former member of the Atlantic City Figure Skating Club and, in high school, practiced at the Flyers Skate Zone in Atlantic City.
During Blizzard’s sophomore year at Ocean City High School, she decided she wanted to start an event that combined her two lifelong passions: figure skating and community service.
Blizzard has been skating for 14 years. She’s been active in community service “forever,” Blizzard said.
“I kind of fell in love with the Make-A-Wish Foundation because I think they do really cool things with kids who are suffering,” Blizzard said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsors the wishes of terminally ill children. The organization was founded in 1980 because of Christopher Greicius, a seven-year-old boy being treated for leukemia.
Greicius and his family befriended U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin, and Greicius shared his desire to become a police officer with Austin.
Austin promised him a ride in a police helicopter. On April 29, 1980, Austin and a team of personnel gave Greicius a day-long, bird’s eye view of his city in a police helicopter.
Greicius passed away in early May 1980.
Through the Atlantic City Figure Skating Club, Blizzard met a girl who had also been helped by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The fellow skater wished to be featured in a magazine and was treated to a professional photo shoot. Those photos were printed in a magazine.
Blizzard said the girl came to the first Skate For Wishes fundraiser, which raised $600 for Make-A-Wish.
Skate For Wishes hit a personal record last year, raising more than $2,300 in a single day.
“Last year we had over 200 people for sure. We ran out of ice skates for a little while, which is the only thing we’re a little concerned about this year,” Blizzard said.
That money went to help fund a child’s wish to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“They do a great job of bringing hope,” Blizzard said about Make-A-Wish Foundation. “You’re not just stuck in a hospital, you can do other things, and they have all of the professionals there to help them and I think it gives them a positive atmosphere that you can keep moving forward.”
Once a child’s wish is selected to be granted, Make-A-Wish gives the child the option of visiting the The Samuel & Josephine Wishing Place to formally grant their wish. The wishing place is located in Monroe Township, N.J., and is built to resemble a fairy tale castle.
Blizzard visited the castle earlier this year.
“It’s beautiful. And there’s four different rooms all designed to spark inspiration and think of creative dreams,” Blizzard said. “They wish on a little stone and put it in a treasure chest and then we close the treasure chest. The lights go dim and then shooting stars go off everywhere and I’m like, oh my goodness that is so cute. They do a really good job from beginning to end of making it a magical experience. No matter what the wish is, the kid and the family have a blast.”
This year, Blizzard hoped to set a new personal Skate For Wishes record by raising $3,000.
She is confident this year’s event could make the goal.
Skate For Wishes offers rink skating at the Flyers Skate Zone, 501 North Albany Ave., Atlantic City, on Dec. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Event will include music, a DJ, a basket auction, and T-shirts, hats and stuffed bears will also be sold. Tickets are $15, whether or not a skater brings their own skates.
“It’s a great way to end the year by doing something that is fun for yourself but also will benefit other people,” Blizzard said about the event. ‘So I think it’s a good way to close out 2012.”
By Kristen Kelleher at the Ocean City Sentinel