Palisadian Alon Sugarman, 12, spoke at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles annual awards and dinner gala on November 1 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey. The evening raised over $160,000 for the Los Angeles chapter, while also celebrating the chapter’s 20th anniversary. Two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Brad Garrett returned for a second year as master of ceremonies. Sugarman, a seventh grader at Paul Revere, spoke about his “wish trip” with his family to Orlando, Florida, in 2001. Alon was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in his right leg when he was 6 years old. After three years of treatments, which included chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and two stem-cell transplants, he is now in his fourth year of remission. Alon shared how his trip to Orlando helped his recovery, and that he was accompanied by his parents, Barry and Lainie Sugarman, and his sister Lilah, now an 11th grader at Palisades High School. Alon also related how his favorite part of the trip was flying in a World War II fighter plane, gaining him 15 minutes credit towards a pilot’s license. Alon helped Brad Garrett with the evening’s raffle and he beamed when he pulled his own name for a trip to see the horse country in Lexington, Kentucky. His leg was saved with a special prosthetic femoral replacement done in England. Every two to three months, Alon visits the orthopedist who is able to to adjust the titanium bone a few millimeters with a wrench so that it can grow as Alon grows. Alon loves golfing at the Riviera Country Club driving range and will soon earn his brown belt in karate at Gerry Blanck’s Martial Arts Center. His parents started the Cure our Children Foundation in his honor. The Web site (cureourchildren.org) gets thousands of hits a month from families of children with life-threatening diseases. “We got so much support from the Palisades community during his illness-from Kehillat Israel where we’re members, the restaurants, stores, people offering to give blood,” said Lainie Sugarman. “The managers at Ralphs and Gelson’s allow him to use the motorized cart. A lot of love helped with that healing.” Make-a-Wish helps children with life-threatening diseases by granting the child’s special wish. Make-a-Wish of Greater Los Angeles can be reached at 788-6990. Alon Sugarman reminded everyone at the end of his speech that wishes do come true.
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