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October 7, 2009 > Dylan Johnson Memorial Bowl-a-Thon

Dylan Johnson Memorial Bowl-a-Thon

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By courtesy of Veronica Johnson

Veronica Johnson is not part of a corporation. She does not have a large committee working for her. She is, as she puts it, "Just a Mom who lost a child." Even so, Johnson has managed to raise $90,000 for the Greater Bay Area Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation, and hopes to reach the $100,000 mark with this year's tenth annual Dylan Johnson Memorial Bowl-a-Thon. The Bowl-a-Thon, hosted on Saturday, October 10 at Cloverleaf Bowl in Fremont, is a family-friendly event held in memory of her son, Dylan, who passed away ten days after the Make A Wish Foundation sent him and his family to Disneyland to grant his wish of seeing Mickey Mouse.

However, this Bowl-a-Thon is by no means a sad ordeal. Johnson, a long-time resident of Fremont, said, "Regardless of what you've been dealt in life, you're going to have the best of times and the worst of times." In addition to bowling, the event will include: a special appearance by the Raiderettes, a raffle and auction that include prizes like an autographed Michael Jordan jersey and a travel voucher from AAA, live broadcasting by country radio station 95.3 KRTY, and an autograph session and performance by country artist sensation Kevin Sharp.

Sharp will be giving away two autographed guitars: an electric that will be awarded to the person who brings in the most amount of donated money for the Make a Wish Foundation, and an acoustic that will be auctioned. Famous for his songs "Nobody knows" and "She's Sure Taking It Well" of his platinum selling debut record, Sharp was coincidentally a "wish child" himself; he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer as a senior in high school and was granted his wish to meet producer David Foster. Today, his "wish story" has come full circle, for now kids are requesting to meet him through the Make A Wish Foundation.

Tickets for this event, which includes three games of bowling, shoes, and a t-shirt, are only $20. Johnson specifically tried to create the best deal possible for everyone to attend the Bowl-a-Thon, which she says "Is such a feel-good event... it's the type of event that just lifts you up." Raffle tickets are also a steal: five for a dollar, which could win many great prizes from a Wii to an autographed football.

The event schedule is as follows: Autograph session with Kevin Sharp from 11 a.m-noon, check-in at noon, and Raiderette appearance from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.

So why does Johnson toil for months on end for one single day in October? Because of everyone's reaction to the event, seeing smiles and hundreds of hugs. And because when she shows a short video of Dylan, there's not a dry eye in the room. People will approach her while running errands around town, and "they remember." And most importantly, because of how she is able to give back to the organization who gave her so much.

Even though Dylan Johnson may have passed away in 2000, his spirit lives on. Johnson said, "You can turn a negative into a positive... [and] this is who I've become because of him."

Dylan Johnson Memorial Bowl-a-Thon
Saturday, October 10

Autograph session with Kevin Sharp from 11 a.m. - noon
Raiderette appearance from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Check-in at 12 p.m., bowling begins at 1 p.m.

Cloverleaf Bowl
40645 Fremont Blvd # 3
Fremont, CA

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