After four rounds of competition and a lot of leftover chicken bones, J. Timothy's in Plainville has announced the final total of its "Wings for Wishes" fundraiser. The wing-eating competition brought in $19,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a sum that will help grant two wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Last year's event brought in $11,500, according to the restaurant, which helped send a 10-year-old Connecticut boy to Disneyland through the foundation. The 2013 event "surpassed our expectations," said manager Greg Gardner, "thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of the teams, contributors, volunteers and staff."
"We're thrilled that we'll be able to grant two wishes for children and their families in need of an escape from their battles with health issues," Gardner said.
The team known as "The Wing Men" took home the competition trophy, downing the most chicken wings. But challengers #CTBrewCrew, a team of craft beer aficionados who connected and formed friendships through social media, earned a spot in the finals because of their fundraising efforts. Their team of five pulled in a total of $5,375.
The outcome was particularly poignant for #CTBrewCrew member Aron Daniels, 33, a past recipient of a wish from the foundation. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma at 15, he spent many months hospitalized due to the illness and intense chemotherapy. The foundation arranged for him to meet his "personal lifetime hero" Michael Jordan in Chicago.
Daniels, in remission for 17 years, said it felt "exciting, humbling, and impactful" to give back to the organization that made his own dream come true.
"To know that we have done so much to make a difference in the lives of not only a Wish kid, but their families also...I hope we can aim to do more of the same next year, and the year after that and so on," he said.