For a few hours on Oct. 20, the bouncing basketballs and slam dunks in the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe did more than earn pickup points for players — they raised money to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses.
The event, Swishes for Wishes, is a part of the Chi Omega sorority’s annual Wish Week, which raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This year, for Wish Week and through other events the group has raised more than $58,000 for charity.
At their gala this semester, Chi Omega granted a specific wish using funds raised by the chapter for the first time ever, said Kelcey Beckman, Chi Omega’s chair of community service. The wish? A wheelchair-accessible playground built for a boy named Bentley in his backyard in Glendale.
Bentley, who has a nervous system disorder, is 5 years old and loves to play in the park and with his grandparents.
“To be able to see and set a goal and then accomplish it was such an amazing experience,” said Addie Fairley, a senior studying business law and a member of the Chi Omega sorority. “To watch it all happen — I know it moved me and a lot of our other sisters to tears.”
Fairley said that the Swishes for Wishes event is an integral part of granting wishes like Bentley’s.
“It’s really great to see the chapter put on the event because of all of the support that we get from the community,” Fairley said. “It gives an opportunity for the rest of the community at ASU to come together, all for a really great cause to raise a ton of money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.”
Chi Omega welcomes all to participate in the event, and this year various teams made up of fraternity members and university athletes competed in Swishes for Wishes. The men’s tennis team at ASU was among the competitors in the bracket-style basketball tournament. The winning team was Sigma Pi.
Joseph Briones, a junior studying computer science and mathematics, is a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, which competed in the event. He said that events like Swishes for Wishes are representative of how important philanthropy is to university greek life and ASU as a whole.
“Philanthropy allows you to be a bigger part of the community,” Briones said. “By taking a step out and reaching out to the community, it not only makes you a better person but allows you an opportunity to make an impact in the community.”