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“Just one day to forget;” Make-A-Wish “Yacht Blast” aims to brings smiles to kids

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A day on a yacht on Lake Michigan is an experience not everyone has had.

This Saturday, August 16th, more than three dozen yacht owners are giving that opportunity to 40 Make-A-Wish children and their families. But that's not all that's going on at the Milwaukee Yacht Club.

The “Yacht Blast for Kids” is from 2:00-4:00, just for Make-A-Wish families. “Classics for Kids” is a car show open to the public at the McKinley Marina from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and then the “After Blast” party at the Milwaukee Yacht Club, also open to the public, from 4:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Glenn Kennedy is the man who started this all.

“About 7 years ago I was boating in Florida, Tampa Bay actually and I met a wonderful family standing by the marina,” remembers Kennedy. “And I went up and I introduced myself. There was a young boy who was there on a wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And he thought riding on a boat was the most incredible thing and he told me he would like to do it someday. I came back to Milwaukee and I though what a neat idea. If we could give the children from make-a-wish who are experiencing life threatening medical conditions an afternoon to spend on a boat and to forget about all their medical conditions.”

He called it “Yacht Blast for Kids” and now it’s in its 6th year! Each year it has grown with the number of sponsors, yacht owners who volunteer their time and their boats, and of course in money raised.

“We've raised over $400,000 and granted close to 80 wishes now through this foundation,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy reminds people that the party is what raises the most money. This year, in one evening, they plan to raise over $200,000 that goes to The Make-A-Wish Wisconsin Foundation to help fund additional wishes for kids all over the state.

“At the After Blast party, we have spectacular food, silent auction, live auction and we have some really top notch entertainment,” said Kennedy. That includes Milwaukee native and American Idol contestant Naima Adedapo.

It takes almost the whole year to get ready for an event this size, and Kennedy admitted that it is a lot of work, but he said it is more than worth it to see the faces of the kids he helps, and knowing how many others he can help reach. Kennedy said that he never imagined this event would get this successful, and he could help so many people.

“I've gotten so many letter through the years, letters of appreciation of what a spectacular experience it`s been for the children and their families. Just one day to forget about their medical situations their facing,” said Kennedy.

The after party is $20 dollars for admission, and $50 dollars for admission and dinner. Tickets are still available. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Again the money raised goes to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. To learn more or order tickets, go to http://www.yachtblastforkids.com/.