ABOVE: Vanderbilt Coach Stephanie White tells Wish Kid Noel, 5, that she and her family are headed to Disney World. // Joe Howell, Vanderbilt Photo Services
Head coach Stephanie White and the Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball team, along with partner Papa John’s, are helping send a Williamson County child to Walt Disney World® Resort through Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee.
The gift was revealed at halftime of Vanderbilt’s game against Arkansas on Feb. 25, when two checks — one from Papa John’s and another from Coach White — were unveiled. During the ceremony five-year-old wish kid Noel, who has leukemia, learned that she would be going to Walt Disney World® Resort with her family.
“We are so excited to partner with Papa John’s and Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee to grant a wish for a child and family in need of joy and inspiration,” White said. “This extraordinary foundation has impacted me since the moment I met Jessica Meyer; she is a prime example of how a wish can change a life. We want to help provide more opportunities for children and families to escape their struggles for a moment, smile and enjoy time together.”
Papa John’s has been partnering with Vanderbilt this season by making a donation to Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee each time the Commodores made a 3-pointer during home games over the past several weeks. Papa John’s then presented a $5,000 check during Thursday’s ceremony, and White matched that check with one of her own.
“We’re grateful to have the generous support of community partners like Papa John’s and Coach Stephanie White,” said Beth Torres, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee. “With more than 200 children waiting to have their wishes granted, the dedication and generosity of our local donors allows us to grant more and better wishes to children with critical illnesses.”