Stephanie Evans' wish for a secret garden is coming true, as will many other wishes of children, thanks to a funding partnership announced Saturday afternoon.
Stephanie is a 7-year-old Pleasant Grove girl stricken with a crippling muscular disease and confined to a wheelchair. Her wish for a secret garden where she can entertain her friends was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, aided by a firm using Salt Lake City as a launch city for a new snack food.Gallo Salame, makers of the newly marketed Galillo Stuffables, has pledged that a portion of the proceeds of each box of their pocket sandwiches sold between now and the end of the year will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Karl Malone Foundation for Kids.
To make good on the pledge, president Rich Armstrong said his firm is building a $3,000 gazebo in Stephanie's garden, which is currently under construction.
Armstrong also presented Stephanie with a tea set in anticipation of her first tea party in her new garden.
"This is a very exciting and rewarding program," said Armstrong. He was brought into it by Kay Malone, who is doing ads for the product.
"Kay has been telling us about this foundation since we began working with her and we decided it was something we wanted to get involved in," said Armstrong.
Sharilyn Evans, Stephanie's mother, said it is the second time her family has been aided by the Make-A-Wish group. A younger son also suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and last year was given a trip to Disney World.
"Make-A-Wish has been a wonderful part of our family's life," she said. "They're a breath of fresh air in our lives. They can take us away from our otherwise constant concerns about medical problems that come with your children suffering from a life-threatening disease."
Evans said she had Stephanie wait and think about what her wish would be to make it special.
"Stephanie has always loved flowers and she loved the movie (`The Secret Garden')," said Evans. "This is going to be Stephanie's own special place, in her mind the playground that she can't go to with the other kids."
Kay Malone said she and her husband, Karl, have been involved with the Make-A-Wish group for a long time through their own foundation. Karl Malone has been spending time with a Make-A-Wish child before each home game.