Make A Wish Annual Garden Party

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On April - 18 - 2011
Shareef Malnik, Gabrielle Anwar, and the beautiful brood

Shareef Malnik, Gabrielle Anwar, and the beautiful brood

One event to which we look forward every year is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida Garden Party which kicks off THE most anticipated event of the year, the Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball.  The elegant garden party took place on Sunday, April 10 and was hosted by Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik at their oceanfront estate, which ranks at the poshest pad in Palm Beach, and is the perfect setting for any affair- well worth the drive up from Miami (and just about anywhere, really). 

As if this spectacular event required additional props, the 200 gorgeous guests in the garden mingled and posed among enormous, inflatable “Friends With You” Wish Characters, created just for the occasion, which added bright colors and whimsy to an already magical afternoon- in celebration of the Ball’s magical mission. 

Ball Chairman, Shareef Malnik, surprised the crowd by announcing that Burn Notice star Gabrielle Anwar would serve as the celebrity auctioneer at this year’s Ball, to be held on Saturday, November 5.  (In past years the auctioneer has remained a secret until just before the big event.)  Shareef introduced the beautiful and charming Anwar who took the microphone and said, “I guess that’s what happens when you are sleeping with the chairman” to the delight of the crowd, and shock of Shareef, who turned beet red.  Anwar then tapped him loving on the backside and went on to encourage guests to “make space in their beautiful couture for a wallet full of wishes.” 

Al Malnik had the crowd in stitches when he took over the mic, saying, “I don’t think I’m old enough to have a kid this big (pointing to Shareef) and I didn’t know she was sleeping with my son (addressing Anwar).” Then looked over to his wife Nancy and said, “Did you know they were sleeping together?” He complimented everyone at the party by saying they looked as if they were part of a glamorous movie set then thanked Shareef and the two other amigos, Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida  and Robert Hill, Ball Host and General Manager of InterContinental Miami.  He also thanked his young children (six under the age of 12!) because he is certain that when they grow up they will be involved in Make-A-Wish as well, before introducing Wedderburn and Hill, who also gave inspiring speeches. 

Guests at the annual spring soiree included Star Benefactor James Ferraro, Belkys Nerey, Fernando Wong, Merle and Danny Weiss, Lady Monica Heftler, Nick D’Annunzio, Tara Solomon and Wish Characters Rainbow King, Buddy Chubb, MR. TTT, Malfi, and Zoo-Zoo. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Covering a 13-county territory of Southern Florida, the chapter’s goal is to grant more than 500 wishes in 2011. For more information, contact the Foundation at (888) 773-WISH or log on to

photo credit: Joseph Quinones

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