Atlantic Cape Sunshine Foundation makes dreams come true

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Claire Lowe / Anakin Ryan, 5, of Vineland, who has severe autism, with his mother, Michele, learns that he is going to Disney World during the 18th annual Cape Atlantic chapter Golf Classic Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Linwood Country Club. Claire Lowe / Anakin Ryan, 5, of Vineland, who has severe autism, with his mother, Michele, learns that he is going to Disney World during the 18th annual Cape Atlantic chapter Golf Classic Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Linwood Country Club.

OCEAN CITY — Anakin Ryan, 5, had his dream come true Wednesday, Sept. 18 when he found out he would be going to Disney World, thanks to the Cape Atlantic chapter of the Sunshine Foundation.

Ryan, who has severe autism and global developmental delays, attended the local group’s 18th annual Golf Classic Wednesday at Linwood Country Club with his parents, Michele and Andrew Ryan of Vineland. He is one of seven children who will have their dreams funded this year from the proceeds collected at the Golf Classic.

“He loves Mickey. We’re very excited and grateful,” Michele Ryan said, noting that her son is most excited to visit Star Tours.

During the trip, the Ryan family will also visit the Sunshine Dream Village in Florida.

Michele Ryan said that the family will take the trip in April around Anakin’s birthday.

Carmen D’Angelo, of Ocean City, president of the Cape Atlantic chapter and co-chair of the Golf Classic, said that Wednesday’s event was sold out.

“Today’s turnout was fantastic. We had a full house,” he said. “The day was beautiful.”

According to D’Angelo, the Golf Classic was started by the chapter’s previous president, Marianne Cottshott, and has grown each year since its inception. He said that it costs about $5,000 to grant one child’s wish and there are 200 children on the waiting list.

The Cape Atlantic chapter of the Sunshine Foundation raises the most money through sponsorships for the Golf Classic.

 “It’s all for the kids. We have a lot of great sponsors,” he said. “Everyone has been very generous.”

Tricia Bowman-Branch of Ocean City served as the announcer. The former Miss Cape May County 1987 has been volunteering for the Sunshine Foundation for 26 years. Bowman-Branch is also a former Miss New Jersey 1988 who took on the Sunshine Foundation as her platform during her pageant days.

“It’s a wonderful organization,” she said.

Bowman-Branch said that while there are a lot of organizations out there to donate to, the Sunshine Foundation is especially worthy.

“They are truly focused on the children,” she said. “The amount of money that goes back to the children, it’s shocking in a good way.”

She said it was also impressive that the organization was almost all volunteers.

During the event, D’Angelo and committee member Claire Paugh recognized event sponsors the Messner Foundation, Inc. and the Foster Karney Foundation.

In addition to D’Angelo and PAugh, 2013 Sunshine Golf Classic committee members include co-chair Frank Pizzutilla of Ocean City, Carole Aust, Jim Barkalow, Meg Boice, Norma  D’Angelo, Michael King, Richard King and Mary Jane Weissenberg.

The Sunshine Foundation describes itself as the original wish granting organization in the United States, serving seriously ill, chronically ill and physically challenged children. It has answered the dreams of more than 36,000 children since 1976.

Claire Lowe / Tricia Bowman-Branch of Ocean City announces the winners of various prizes. Claire Lowe / Tricia Bowman-Branch of Ocean City announces the winners of various prizes.

Claire Lowe / Golf Classic attendees drop bids in the Chinese auction buckets. Claire Lowe / Golf Classic attendees drop bids in the Chinese auction buckets.

Claire Lowe / Golf Classic co-chair Frank Pizzutilla talks about the event. Claire Lowe / Golf Classic co-chair Frank Pizzutilla talks about the event.

Claire Lowe / Golf Classic co-chairman Carmen D’Angelo and committee member Claire Paugh recognize event sponsors the Messner Foundation, Inc. and the Foster Karney Foundation. Claire Lowe / Golf Classic co-chairman Carmen D’Angelo and committee member Claire Paugh recognize event sponsors the Messner Foundation, Inc. and the Foster Karney Foundation.

Claire Lowe / Kristin Fallstick, director of development for the Sunshine Foundation, announces during the 18th annual Cape Atlantic chapter Golf Classic Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Linwood Country Club that Anakin Ryan, 5, of Vineland, who has severe autism, will go to Disney World thanks to the proceeds from the event. Claire Lowe / Kristin Fallstick, director of development for the Sunshine Foundation, announces during the 18th annual Cape Atlantic chapter Golf Classic Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Linwood Country Club that Anakin Ryan, 5, of Vineland, who has severe autism, will go to Disney World thanks to the proceeds from the event.


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