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Burglars Strike Foundation that Helps Ill Children

June 30, 2002

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Burglars Strike Foundation that Helps Ill Children

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Make-A-Wish Theft Forces Postponement of July Fund-Raiser

by Javacia N. Harris, The Courier-Journal

Burglars stole more than $1,750 worth of donated items from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kentucky, which grants the wishes of terminally ill children.

The looted items included digital videodisc players, videocassette recorders, autographed baseball memorabilia and gift certificates, which were to be sold in a fund-raising auction next month.

Jefferson County police Sgt. Dion Collins said the burglary occurred between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday at the foundation's office on Brinley Avenue, off Evergreen Road in Middletown. He said police had no suspects and were canvassing the neighborhood for leads.

Loree Holland, executive director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kentucky, said the items would have been auctioned off July 13 at the Adam Matthews Festival Day Gala at the Louisville Zoo. Because of the theft, the whole festival will be postponed until September so the foundation can collect more donations.

Holland said the foundation had hoped to raise $50,000 at the auction.

Holland said the group learned yesterday evening that more was missing than first thought, and members were still trying to tally the total loss.

"I don't know what you say about someone who would do something like this," Holland said. "What do you need so badly that you would do this to kids in these situations?"

Holland said that granting wishes costs an average of about $5,400 each; the children's desires range from trips to Walt Disney World to new bedroom furniture. Many homebound children ask for computers, she said.

The foundation now has 60 children on its waiting list. Since its inception in August 2001, the Kentucky unit of the Make-A-Wish organization has granted 67 wishes.

"We have children and families depending on us," Holland said.

Adam Burckle, president of the Adam Matthews Foundation, the sponsor of the gala at which the auction was to take place, said the event will be postponed until Sept. 14. But he said the theft is devastating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the children it helps.

"Those children don't have a clock that can be extended like this event," said Burckle, who is also president of Adam Matthews Inc. in Jeffersontown, which makes cheesecakes and other items.

The Adam Matthews Foundation, established in 1999, is a Louisville organization that supports local children's charities.

Burckle said the Adam Matthews Foundation will pay all the expenses of the event at the zoo, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation will receive all proceeds from the auction.

The Festival Day Gala will also include live entertainment and a dinner.

Tickets to the Sept. 14 gala are $75 and can be obtained from the Adam Matthews Foundation, 4992253, or the Louisville Zoo, 4592181.

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