CATEGORY: Miscellaneous



By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

For Lyn Thompson of Purvis, taking his ill daughter to Disney World was the chance of a lifetime.

“It is very unlikely that we would have been able to make this trip (on our own). It was really special for us,” Thompson said.

The chance to take his 18-year-old daughter on the trip was made possible by a national nonprofit organization that opened its doors in Mississippi in early January. The Brass Ring Society Inc., based in Orlando, Fla., fulfilled several wishes in the state before it opened a Mississippi chapter.

“We have fulfilled dreams for a number of Mississippi children, but there are so many more to reach, a state chapter was a must,” said Ray Esposito, president and founder of the society. “The key was to find a volunteer executive director who was qualified to head the office and concerned enough about these kids that working without pay, as a volunteer, was unimportant.”

The society chose Thompson.

Granting wishes

The Brass Ring Society serves terminally ill children by granting them wishes. There are four programs that make up the society’s outreach. They are: Carousel of Dreams, a program that fulfills children’s dreams; Carousel of Books, which provides recorded books and tape players for children in hospital burn units, oncology and children’s wards; Kids Night Out, which takes advantage of unused corporate tickets to sports, cultural and entertainment events; and Maritime Adventure, which takes disadvantaged and disabled children for boat rides, sailing cruises and fishing trips.

The Brass Ring Society reaches children and raises funds through a nationwide chapter system. Each chapter is headed by a volunteer executive director.

Volunteers are needed for the society, which was founded in 1983 in Tulsa, Okla., and later moved to Florida, to help perform all essential services for the chapter and children.

Esposito said that “working as a team, there is no reason the society cannot raise the funds to reach every eligible child in Mississippi.”

Funds raised in Mississippi are used solely for the children in the state, he said. Esposito added that the chapter will explore the possibilities of opening district volunteer offices throughout the state so more residents can become involved.

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