The collaboration between Levy Dermatology and Make-A-Wish Mid-South started last fall thanks to Jonathan Harrison and his family.
“My wife, Alicia, and I had twins, but one of our daughters, Evie, died from meningitis in 2010 when she was only 20 months old,” says Harrison. “We were devastated by our loss, and wanted to give Evie a legacy by helping other families with critically ill children.”
The family asked that memorial gifts be directed to Make-A-Wish Mid-South. Harrison says, “We were drawn to Make-A-Wish for a multitude of reasons, one being an opportunity to give parents of a critically ill child a chance to grant their child a special wish and have that be a special moment with them. With every wish granted we remember the happiness that Evie brought into our lives. It is a constant reminder that loving and helping one another is really what matters.”
Through his job as a pharmaceutical representative, Harrison had developed a relationship with Shira and Alan Levy of Levy Dermatology. “We had known Jonathan going back to when my husband was a resident,” says Shira, who is the group’s chief operating officer. “When Jonathan told us that he was thinking about doing something for Make-A-Wish, we thought it would be fun to have Cycle Bar set up bicycles at our East Memphis office for a memorial fundraiser for Evie.”
Hayley Arthur from Cycle Bar connected with Levy Dermatology about hosting a fundraiser ride. Through the CycleGiving program, CycleBar partners with local organizations and charities to help raise donations. CycleBar instructor Will Coleman, a former Memphis Tiger basketball player, ran the event for about 40 participants who turned out.
“Will brought energy and enthusiasm to the fundraiser, with hip hop music and tons of encouragement for the participants,” says Shira. “Jonathan was also very inspiring as he spoke about how Make-A-Wish had become a big part
of his life. Will led us on a 45-minute ride, then we held an open house at our office. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the CycleGiving event, as well as the proceeds from the sales of any of our products that day, went directly to Make-A-Wish Mid-South. We are now expecting this to become an annual collaboration between Levy Dermatology and Make-A-Wish Mid-South as we support the ongoing legacy of Evie Harrison.”
MarySusan Asters (pictured), development officer at Make-A-Wish Mid-South, says, “Our Mid-South chapter started in 1986. We provide life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. In the case of the Harrison family, they helped fundraise not for a specific child, but for the overall organization. In fact, we are funded almost exclusively by individual and corporate donations and all of the money raised in our area stays here in the Memphis community.
“Seeing the impact that Make-A-Wish has on other families can be very inspirational, and we are grateful for families like the Harrisons who are really passionate about Make-A-Wish. To date, the Harrison family has raised more than $37,000 through the support of friends and family in honor of Evie.”
More than 600 volunteers in the Mid-South help grant wishes, with room for more to join the Make-A-Wish community. For more information, visit midsouth.wish.org or call (901) 680-9474.