London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Sarah O’Neill was just 12 years old when she received her dream come true from the Make A Wish Foundation, but she spent the better part of the next six years trying to give it back.
O’Neill, now 18, along with her entire family, were sent to the Atlantis resort, in the Bahamas, thanks to the generosity of Make-A-Wish. A survivor of rhabodomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, O’Neill, who was diagnosed at just 10 years old — and went through three surgeries, a year of chemo and 25 radiation treatments — will continue her quest to give back by taking part in an upcoming fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
Sue in the City: Live from the Runway is a multi-media event, demonstrating fashion and highlighting food and fun, set for Thursday (Oct. 11), beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn. The event will feature fall fashions from high-end, local retailers, with commentary and trend advice from style and image consultant Sue Jacobs, of Personal Style Image Consulting.
The goal of the event is to raise $16,000, the price of granting two wishes. And O’Neill knows first-hand how life altering those dreams can be.
“My wish was to go to Atlantis, in the Bahamas, with my family. We went for five days, it was awesome,” O’Neill said. “Vacations like that definitely bring your family back together. After a year of chemo and different things, you need to relax after all that.”
Jacobs’s goal for the fundraiser also speaks personally to O’Neill as she has looked for years to pay back her wish.
“I think it is very important to give back. I never felt I had the right to that wish, I have always felt I should give it back,” O’Neill said. “I thought I should volunteer enough to make back the money so someone else could have the wish. I felt it isn’t something everyone gets, not something you can expect. So I think that’s why I feel I need to repay it.”
The Sue in the City event will see six women who have had dramatic makeovers show off their new looks. London firefighters will be selling draw tickets and posing for pictures with attendees. The silent auction features $13,000 in goods up for bids, luxury items like a complete wedding planning service ($1,200), Chef Tasting for six at Earl’s ($800) surround sound stereo system, set of Wills and Power of Attorney, $150 Black Trumpet gift certificate.
And of course, a generous donation will be made to Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario
“I thought this was a wonderful idea. As a teenaged female, a fashion show sounds fantastic.,” O’Neill said. “Sue has a lot of really good things going. She has the firefighters walking the models down the runway. There is the silent auction. Lots of things for people to get involved in.”
O’Neill will be the featured speaker at the fundraiser, not only sharing how her wish helped shape her past, but how it is continuing to mold her future as well. O’Neill is currently studying biological and medical science at Western University with the hopes of one day becoming an oncologist.
“I look back at those years a lot. I feel they have shaped who I am. I think they have shaped my career path most of all. I really didn’t know who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do,” O’Neill said. “But since I was 10, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. I will hopefully be going to med school. So it has all shaped me, it has been a positive experience.”
Her battle with cancer not only shaped her professional future, but it continued to build upon her parent’s commitment to helping others. And while she has been involved in many volunteer efforts, O’Neill said Make-A-Wish is one of the best.
“I have been involved with Make A Wish, I volunteer at the hospital, I volunteer at a cancer camp as well. It has shaped what I want to do with my life,” O’Neill said. “Make A Wish is the most fun charity to be involved in. Telling kids they can have a wish, a wish that is as unique as they are, it is just wonderful to be a part of.”
For more information on Sue in the City: Live from the Runway, or to order tickets, visit www.sueinthecityoct2012.eventbrite.ca.
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