There were just a few dry eyes in the house Saturday evening when the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Michigan held its annual Wish Ball — “Reflecting, Transforming and Accelerating.”

More than 600 people attended the gala, which started with a VIP reception and cocktail hour at the Detroit Marriott-Renaissance Center.

Once inside the ballroom, a celebration of 35 years of granting life-changing wishes to courageous Michigan children battling critical illnesses began. A spunky 8-year-old Wish kid, Chloe, who, while going through treatment for leukemia, said her wish was to star in her own music video. The video premiered, and Chloe, who attended with her mother, cried as guests gave her a standing ovation.

Several other Wish kids and Wish alumni shared their touching experiences as well.

“Chris and I are so honored to chair this event for this kind and worthy cause,” said Jennifer Granger, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Chris Granger, group president of Sports and Entertainment, Ilitch Holdings Inc. “We thank everyone for their continued support. To date, we have granted 10,000 wishes.”

Entertainment for the evening was provided by NuClassica; performance painter David Garibaldi (who caught the Red-Eye in from California for the performance); Martha and the Vandellas; and Bluewater Kings Band for dancing late into the evening.

Dinner was a stuffed caramelized apple and fontina chicken. There was a very successful live auction by auctioneer Gary Mach.

Funding from Saturday’s event will help grant the wishes of more than 400 Michigan kids this year. Tickets to the ball were $300 per person.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of

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