When former Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom invited pro skier Chris Anthony to his Wish of a Lifetime Gala four years ago, Anthony was not entirely sure what the organization was all about. Still, he accepted the invite, and found the evening so inspiring that by the time he left, he wanted to get involved.
Bloom founded WOL in 2008 as an organization to help deserving senior citizens accomplish something they have dreamed of, and for whatever reason, have not been able to. Wishes previously granted range from helping aging veterans visit the WWII Memorial, to going skydiving, to taking simple train rides symbolic to the individual. Among other seniors who have made their mark, one of the recent recipients of a Wish of a Lifetime grant was a member of the World War II’s famed 10th Mountain Division troops.
Anthony’s segment in this year’s Warren Miller film Flow State is a tribute 10th Mountain Division, and the impact this small group of veterans have had on the ski industry as we know it. What Anthony learned during the filming of this piece provided the personal connection he needed to increase his participation with WOL. In addition to the 10th Mountain Segment in Flow State, Warren Miller Entertainment teamed up with Anthony to make a documentary film, focused on the contributions and achievements of the 10th Mountain, which they will be able to use for educational and fundraising purposes.
“The plan for Wish of a Lifetime Foundation to team up with myself and host [the documentary] premiere in Denver, will be a timely honor to the greatest generation as well as raise money for the foundation and the Colorado Ski Museum, to grant more wishes,” said Anthony.
Bloom’s WOL, inspired by his grandparents, has touched a lot of hearts, and boasts an exponential increase in wish granting abilities in the four years since its inception. The exceptional generosity of corporate and individual donors, young and old, has allowed WOL to grow from granting four wishes the first year, to 191 wishes granted in 2011.
“We’re on pace to grant even more in 2012,” said Carrie Packard, communications director for the foundation. “Our mission is to inspire an entire generation and to create a cultural shift on how we view aging. Our belief is that growing older doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming and living a life of purpose.”
Anthony says that is just what is happening. “The WOL foundation has a way of connecting the youth of today with our seniors, and in the process give something back while saying thank you. The process brings a smile to all parties.”
“My personal reward has been the ability to reconnect with our elders as well as saying thank you through WOL,” said Anthony.
This year’s nearly 600 guest Gala was held in mid-July at the Seawell Ballroom in Denver. Along with athletes like Bloom and Anthony, dozens of Olympians spanning generations, and current professional athletes attended. A silent and live auction was held to raise money. Politicians from Senator Bob Dole, to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper have wholeheartedly commended the WOL mission.
To donate, or for more information and to keep an eye out for next year’s Gala, and Warren Miller Entertainment’s 10th Mountain Division documentary film, visit Wish of a Lifetime’s website.
To watch the 10th Mountain Segment in Flow State, Check WME’s Tour Calendar.