Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Two more wishes granted for Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Westfield State University recently held its fourth annual Mr. Westfield pageant on Saturday, March 28 and raised more than $15,000 for Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The event, hosted by the Class of 2015 and Class of 2017, included one male representative from each residential building on campus, as well as one representative from each class on campus. Contestants this year included, Dan Fullam ’15 (Mr. 2015), John Bartel ’15 and Patrick Bartel ’15 (Mr. and Mr. Apartment Complex), Nicholas Odell ’15 (Mr. Commuter), Nicholas Smarra ’15 (Mr. New Hall), Jeff Gruber ’16 (Mr. University Hall), Justin Connolly ’16 (Mr. 2016), Jon Cubetus ’17 (Mr. Lammers Hall), Andrew Manchino ’17 (Mr. 2017), Wayne Barnaby ’17 (Mr. Landsdowne Place), Anthony Swenson ’18 (Mr. Dickinson Hall), and Miles Cipriano ’18 (Mr. Davis Hall).

There were three winning categories at this year’s pageant: the overall Mr. Westfield 2015; Mr. Congeniality, who was chosen by the other contestants; and Mr. Fundraiser, who raised the most money out of all of the contestants.

This year’s event was able to raise $12,500 through contestant fundraising, sponsorship, ticket sales, concessions, and other donations. This amount has surpassed the $7,500 amount (the average cost of a wish) the Class of 2015 and Class of 2017 had initially hoped to raise. Due to an anonymous donation at the end of the event, Mr. Westfield’s grand total fundraising amount was $15,750, enough to grant two wishes through Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Class of 2015 President Richard Darrach of Marlborough, Mass. is astounded at how successful the event was.

“The entire Mr. Westfield program has just been in shock since Saturday night. I personally still tear up when anyone brings it up because the feeling is just so overwhelming,” said Darrach.

“We are just truly thankful for the outstanding support from the community and the opportunity to be a part of something this grand,” said Darrach.

Since 2011, the Mr. Westfield program has raised a total of $28,000 for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Westfield State University has raised approximately $62,000 total for the organization since 2006 through various fundraising efforts.

Mr. 2016 Justin Connolly of Walpole, Mass., who was crowned Mr. Congeniality and Mr. Westfield 2015, describes the event as, “the most fun I have had at Westfield State since I’ve been here. You can’t go wrong with having the opportunity to make some great friends and put on a great show.”

Connolly said he didn’t expect to be crowned the big winner.

“I was equally surprised and flattered for being chosen to win both of these titles. It was an honor to spend all this great time and make all these great memories with these great guys,” Connolly said.

Mr. 2015 Dan Fullam of Braintree, Mass., who has competed in the Mr. Westfield pageant three times, was named Mr. Fundraiser 2015, after raising more than $2,000 for this year’s event. In total over the past three years, Fullam has raised $3,700 for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“It feels great knowing that everybody as a whole came together to help out such a great cause,” said Fullam. “I think part of me is still in shock at how much money we raised.”

Two children who have had their wishes fulfilled by Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island were in attendance and presented the sashes and crown to the winning contestants. John, 13, and Ella, 8, both wished to go to Walt Disney World® Resort.

The Class of 2015 would like to thank their classmates, and their sister Class of 2017 for making the event possible.

“We couldn’t have done the show without you and we’re confident that the show is left in good hands,” said Darrach. “Most importantly, a big thank you to all of the individuals that contributed to the show, at the end of the day this was a benefit for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island and all of the money is going to a great cause.”

“Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island is grateful for its partnership with Westfield State University and for the University’s steadfast support. It is inspiring to witness how passionate the Westfield State students are in their fundraising efforts to help make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions,” said Charlotte Beattie, chief executive officer, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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