Stars help grant children’s wishes in Portland

HEAVENLY bodies from the AFL constellation added sparkle to Portland’s Wish Upon A Star gala ball.

The fund-raiser for Make-A-Wish Australia, which grants requests to children with life-threatening medical conditions, was enjoyed by about 600 people.

Patrons were entertained by a swag of Collingwood football players, musicians and a magician under a big marquee on the Portland foreshore.

Free entertainment for the public on Saturday afternoon, prior to the ball, included a flyover by the RAAF Roulettes as a tribute to emergency service workers.

But the event highlight was the presentation of wishes to two south-west children with life-threatening illnesses.

Seven-year-olds Bailey Delaney, of Lower Heytesbury, and Milly Graham, of Yambuk, were presented with their wishes to swim with the dolphins and go to the Queensland theme parks.

One of Bailey’s idols, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, Make-A-Wish ambassador Steve Callanan made the presentations.

Mr Callanan also sang the song Every Time You Cry to Milly.

Portland Make-A-Wish branch president Gail Jaensch said there was “not a dry eye” in the marquee following the presentations.

“To see those two little children standing with excitement, waiting and wondering what their wishes would be, no money could ever buy that magical moment,” Mrs Jaensch said.

Also at the ball were Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell, teammates Harry O’Brien, Tyson Goldsack and Alan Toovey.

They were among the social hits of the night, sitting at different tables to mingle with guests.

The Collingwood stars were again generous with their time on Sunday morning when they signed autographs for fans.

Mrs Jaensch said the Make-A-Wish ball had become a popular Portland event and enjoyed a lot of support in the city.

Saturday’s ball was “an absolute success” and next year’s event was already sold out, she said.

Bailey Delaney, 7, meets one of his idols, Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell, at Portland.

Milly Graham, 7 with Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell (left), coach Nathan Buckley and players Tyson Goldsack, Alan Toovey and Harry O’Brien at the Portland Wish Upon a Star gala ball.

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