Monday, November 16, 2015
By JARRAD HEDES This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Running a telethon each year, the goal remains the same for the Blue Ridge Chapter of Dream Come True; surpass the previous year’s total.

On Sunday night at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, the nonprofit organization did that in a big way.

By the end of the four-hour program, event hosts George Roberts, Dr. Ed Miller, Nick Hawkey and Kristal Nemeroff announced a final donation tally of $87,522, well above the $78,660 raised in 2014.

The night featured inspiring stories and appearances by past and future dream recipients.

One such story belongs to Raegan DeWalt, 5, of Palmerton, who saw her dream of getting a puppy come true.

Macky Mack, a 5-month-old Chocolate Labrador retriever, now calls the DeWalt residence home.

“The dog really helps comfort Raegan after she has a seizure due to epilepsy,” Raegan’s mom, Leann, said. “He’s very attached to her and plays with her when she’s feeling down and out.”

As Raegan’s seizures got progressively worse, she was anonymously nominated for a dream and Macky Mack provided her a companion at the perfect time.

“I love my dog,” Raegan said.

Emily Brong of Palmerton, fresh off being crowned homecoming queen, spoke of her upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, while Katie Grohotolski has already been to see Mickey and friends.

“I was picked up in a pink limousine,” Grohotolski said of her trip.

MacKenzie Reed of Lehighton also has an upcoming Disney trip and said she’s most excited to see the princesses.

A Type 1 diabetic, Victoria Weissmith was nominated for Dream Come True by one of her doctors and visited Hawaii.

“I went with my brother, sister and parents and it was such an amazing experience,” Weissmith said. “It was the first time I had heard about Dream Come True, and it was just such a blessing to be able to go on that trip with my family.”

Check presentations rolled in throughout the evening.

Among those donating was Tony Wolfe, who raised $14,940 through the Hunter Wolfe Memorial Golf Tournament. Tony’s son Hunter was just shy of his 13th birthday when he passed away from leukemia.

The American Legion Post 927 in Gilbert raised $15,088 at its annual United Dream Ride.

Al Warner and Jim Pasquariello organize an annual Dream Come True bike run in Bath. Their event brought in $16,202 for the Blue Ridge chapter.

Pasquariello was one of the 2015 Dream Maker Award recipients along with Compassionate Care Hospice, Ed’s Appliances, Executive Auto Gallery Inc., Sue DeAngelo, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ-Indianland, Joseph Lower, Julie Wagaman, West End Fire Company in Brodheadsville, and Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club.

Several Jim Thorpe high school students designed the telethon’s set and props, including a hand-painted winter scene featuring characters from “Frozen.”

“Piano Man” Tommy Zito, Blue Mountain Community Church, Dance With Kim, Pat and Shane McGeehan, Jupiters Arrow, Erin Kelley and Lynn DeHaven, Jillian Rossi, Elizabethtown College Vocalign, Grace Choi, Jimmy Reichard, Ivory Blue, Kristal Nemeroff, Tony Corona, George Roberts and Daimon Price provided entertainment.