Celebrities and University of Miami organizations made wishes come true by playing softball on Saturday.
The University of Miami WishMakers, participating UM organizations and celebrities filled Ponce De Leon Middle School’s field for the final Wish Upon a U Week event, the Swing for the Wishes Celebrity Softball Tournament.
After a series of fundraising events, 12 of 18 teams made it out on the field that day, each accompanied by one celebrity figure to play softball.
UM President Donna E. Shalala threw out the first pitch of the game. Other celebrity participants included former Hurricane star and current Minnesota Vikings player Bryant McKinnie, Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Jamal Anderson, Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl long snapper John Denney, Miami Dolphins kicker Brandon Fields and Indianapolis Colts Najeh Davenport, also a former Hurricane.
“We all get to have fun on a great day in support of a good cause. It’s great to be here,” Fields said.
During Wish Upon a U Week, teams were encouraged to attend a fashion show, take pictures for a photo contest, make banners, dine at Taco Rico and purchase Wayfarer Sunglasses. Registered teams were allotted points based on attendance and participation in these activities, as well as for funds raised.
All proceeds were donated to Make-A-Wish, a national foundation that grants wishes to children suffering from life-threatening diseases.
“It’s great that everyone attended, that the celebrities could make it over here to play with the teams,” said Jonathan Schrader, founder and president of UM WishMakers. “Seeing everyone having a good time is rewarding.”
The winner of this year’s Swing for the Wishes Celebrity Softball Tournament was Phi Delta Theta.
UM Wishmakers’ next celebrity event, the “When the Stars Align” concert, is tentatively scheduled for May 6. Members are working on gathering today’s top artists to perform at the BankUnited Center.
Proceeds from ticket sales will also be donated to the Make-A-Wish foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.
“We want to make it as big as Y100’s Jingle Ball,” Schrader said.
Kattie Maldonado may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.