Ocean City Today

Believe in Tomorrow’s Prom Court members introduced

By Kara Hallissey | Oct 19, 2017

(Oct. 20, 2017) Believe in Tomorrow Prom Court members have less than four months to raise money before the big event takes place on Feb. 3, at Seacrets on 49th Street.

“My goal is to have a six-figures event,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation Beach Respite Housing Program. “I am very happy with the nominees. They are all nice people to be taking time out of their life and jobs to raise money for children.”

This year’s court includes prom king nominees Jeremy Brink, owner of Ocean 13 on the Boardwalk; Frankie Schmidt, of Alexander & Tom Digital in Baltimore; Larry “Big Red” Wnorowski, program director of K107.7 and Kool 104.3/105.1 of Adams Radio Group; and Austin Gerachis, of Malibu’s Surf Shop. One king spot is still open.

Queen nominees include Maria McEvoy, owner of Sandals Bridal Shop in West Ocean City; Jessica Jersey, who works for a local real estate company; Stefanie Lundmark, of Delaware Elevator; and EJ Foxx, radio personality on K107.7. One queen spot is still open.

“It takes a unique person to do something like this and it shows the love they have for our organization,” Littleton said. “I am here to help and coach them in any way possible. They are the type of people I always look for and I enjoy being around.”

Prom court members gathered at Seacrets Distillery on 49th Street last Thursday night to kick off fundraising efforts, meet other nominees and talk with former participants.

Brink has a friend who stayed at the Believe in Tomorrow House in Ocean City with her child and being a dad himself, he “can’t imagine what these parents go through.”

“When Wayne came to the restaurant and asked … I thought it would be really cool to be a part of a great organization,” Brink said. “My friends and the families [who stay at the house] are so happy [spending time in Ocean City] even though they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.”

Brink has also donated his time and deejay skills to Believe in Tomorrow events.

“It means a lot to me to be a part of making these families happy,” Brink said. “I want to do as much as I can for Believe in Tomorrow.”

All tips made during Side Project shows and DJ Jeremy appearances will be donated to Believe in Tomorrow. He wants to raise at least $20,000, but is hoping to reach $50,000.

This Sunday, Oct. 22, Brink is having an all-you-can-eat ribs, oysters and beer event at his Ocean 13 Restaurant on 13th Street and the Boardwalk from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets are $40 and Brink’s band, Side Project, will be playing live.

“I’ve seen the positive impact [Believe in Tomorrow’s Prom Court] had on my mom’s life [former queen Shelley Leach] and I wanted to team up with her and the amazing connections she has made and make a difference in someone else’s life,” Schmidt said. “I was at the gala last year and I’ve seen how happy the volunteers make the kids and how happy the kids make the volunteers.”

Schmidt hopes to raise at least $15,000.

“Believe in Tomorrow gives kids the opportunity to be happy in the form of a getaway and offers an escape from reality for families who need it the most,” Schmidt said.

Wnorowski has a goal to raise at least $10,000, and he will shave his head once half of that amount is collected.

“I have a soft spot in my heart for local charities and I love to help wherever I can,” he said. “But kids? Forget about it. I turn to mush.

“I love kids and it absolutely breaks my heart to see and hear the stories of the types of kids and families that BIT helps,” he continued. “I wish I could take all that disease, pain and suffering from them, but the second best thing I can do is at least help bring some relief and normalcy to their lives... even for just a short time.”

Gerachis has interacted with Believe in Tomorrow families visiting Ocean City through his store, Malibu’s Surf Shop, on Eighth Street and the Boardwalk.

“I wanted to give back and do something beneficial,” Gerachis said. “When Wayne asked, I said yes, and I don’t even know what it is. To help them and give back is awesome.”

Gerachis hopes visits to the store have made an impact on sick children.

“It is extremely important being able to give kids something to do, so they enjoy our town and experience in Ocean City,” Gerachis said. “Even being asked to be a part of this foundation … it’s been unreal.”

“You can’t say no to Wayne,” McEvoy said. “It’s a great cause for children and their families. They get to have a relaxing week when their life is nothing but turmoil. How can you say no to kids?”

When Jersey was 18 years old, her mother passed way from breast cancer.

“My mom’s passion was kids and she couldn’t teach anymore because of the ramifications from her disease,” Jersey said. “This is my way of contributing. I taught high school for 10 years. And, 95 cents of every dollar [donated to Believe in Tomorrow] is used to help kids through the charity and that just doesn’t happen anymore.

“It was the first time in my life, I didn’t hesitate and felt compelled,” she continued. “It was the next natural step to dedicate my time to something so worthy.”

Lundmark looks forward to bringing awareness to the foundation and hopes to raise at least $15,000.

“A lot of people don’t know its here,” Lundmark said. “It is a time for families to be together and bond. I spent three weeks in the children’s ward at Hopkins and it was enough to realize having family there is going to get them through. The house in Ocean City is a getaway with family to not think about life for a week.”

Foxx has donated her time to Believe in Tomorrow events in the past.

“When you see the look on these kids’ faces when they see the beach and ocean for the first time, it’s worth every second,” Foxx said. “We take our own health for granted sometimes and to see these kids going through life-threatening diseases, still smiling, grateful and appreciative, it is beautiful to take them away from their daily routines of being pricked with needles, doctor and hospital visits. Give them a little happiness in their life.”

The Believe in Tomorrow facility on 66th Street is open year-round to provide a free getaway to the beach for critically ill children and their families whenever they may need to escape the stresses of their child’s illness.

Fundraisers such as Prom Night help raise money to provide essential week-long excursions to the Ocean City residence.

Families will have another location to escape the stresses of everyday life on 65th Street in the near future, which is just a few steps away from the back balcony of the 66th Street property.

The new location will serve military pediatric families, larger families that may require the assistance of medical support or extended families because of their child’s illness and end-of-life circumstances, where the inclusion of grandparents, aunts, uncles and special friends will be fulfilled.

All proceeds from Prom Night will go toward renovations of the new beach cottage Believe in Tomorrow acquired on 65th Street in 2016 and the property will allow the nonprofit to host an additional 52 families in Ocean City each year.

Tickets to Prom Night cost $35. The event is capped at 180 guests and the popular party sells out every year.

To purchase tickets for Believe in Tomorrow’s Prom Night, contact Littleton at 410-723-2842 or email wlittleton@believeintomorrow.org.

Visit www.believeintomorrow.org/ housing_bythesea.html to learn more about Believe in Tomorrow’s House by the Sea.

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