Victoria Mendoza dreamed of going to her junior prom.
It was her final wish and the Community Hospice Foundation made sure she realized her dream.
The 16-year-old Waupaca High School student had merosin-deficient muscular dystrophy and had reached the end stage of her terminal disease. With help from the foundation’s Hopes & Dreams Fund, Mendoza, her date and another couple headed to prom this past spring – complete with a limousine escort, a nice dinner out and a photographer to document the event.
She enjoyed every minute and even attended the post-prom party, family and friends said. She passed away the following Monday on April 4, 2011.
Mendoza’s touching story was shared at the foundation’s sixth-annual Light Up the Night for Hospice Presented by First National Bank, which was held Aug. 30.
The event grossed a record $27,000, and all of the net proceeds, after expenses, will go toward the foundation’s Hopes & Dreams Fund. In addition, the Waupaca Area Community Foundation granted $5,000 to the fund.
“We feel so honored to have helped fulfill Victoria’s last wish to go to prom,” said Amanda Williams, foundation development coordinator. “She got to be a princess for a day.”
The Hopes & Dreams Fund, established in 2009, grants wishes and helps hospice patients meet their end-of-life goals.
“We helped one woman publish her poems into a hardbound book, and each family member received a copy as a keepsake,” said Williams. “Another woman wanted to go see Disney On Ice in Green Bay. For another person, we flew in a family member so they could be with that loved one, one last time.”
This year’s fundraiser helped the fund move closer to its $50,000 goal, Williams said. Prior to the event, the fund was at $18,000. The fund now totals an estimated $35,000.
The event included a performance by singer Annie Hughes and pianist Wanda Eickenbary, both from the Waupaca area. A live auction was held, and included an IPad2 donated by BrightStar; a performance by the Waupaca High School Madrigal Singers; and a 14-karat gold Australian opal and diamond pendant from Lee Ayers Jewelry of Stevens Point, designed by Thomas Dailing Designs and sponsored by Suzanne Udoni at Waypoint Financial Solutions, Inc.