W.Va. OMEGA Launches Statewide Make-A-Wish Campaign

Selling $1 wish stars at nearly 600 member convenience, grocery stores

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Currently, more than 80 West Virginia children suffering from life-threatening conditions have wish requests submitted to the West Virginia chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The West Virginia Oil Marketers & Grocers Association (OMEGA) is conducting an August campaign to raise funds to make these dreams come true and the public is encouraged to participate.

Jan Vineyard, president of OMEGA, which represents convenience stores, independent grocers and petroleum marketers in the state, said, "There are far too many children suffering from life-threatening [image-nocss] conditions right here in our own backyard. OMEGA wants to help, even if in a small way, put a smile on these kids' faces and give them something to look forward to. I would encourage individuals who see the campaign in their local convenience or grocery stores to join us."

The wish requests come from children across the state, like a 10-year old from Kanawha County with Cystic Fibrosis, a 13-year old from Mercer County with leukemia, a 16-year old from Raleigh County with a bone disorder and a 7-year old from Mason County with Cardiomyopathy. Additionally, there are 14 children from Monongalia, Marion and Harrison County alone waiting for wish funding.

Vineyard said OMEGA has partnered with both the southern and northern chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise funds that will be used to grant children's wishes. Wish stars will be sold for $1 at nearly 600 OMEGA-member convenience and grocery stores across the state from August 1 to August 31. The association will also hold a golf tournament in September at Glade Springs Resort to raise additional funds.

"Last year, this campaign raised $201,000 which resulted in nearly 70 wishes being granted to children in our state," Vineyard said. "We hope to do even better this year."

Marisa Pedro, regional manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern West Virginia, said, "When we meet a wish child, we ask them, 'If you could go anywhere, be anything, meet anyone, or have anything what would it be?' When a child answers this question, a wish is born. With OMEGA's help, many more children in our region will have the opportunity to answer those questions and experience the hope, strength and joy that comes with them. We are very thankful for their participation."

OMEGA has raised more than $1.1 million since 2003 for charities that improve the health, safety and wellbeing of West Virginia children. "This effort not only gives back to the communities where our members live and work, but it demonstrates the philanthropic nature of our industry. This is a win for all involved: the children, our members and the public."

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