Milwaukee Yachts Will Make Dreams Come True for Children With Life-Threatening Conditions

Yacht Blast For Kids brings together Make-A-Wish families, local boat owners and supportive community members for a fun-filled day.

The ninth annual Yacht Blast For Kids event, hosted by Make-A-Wish, will be held Sunday, September 10, at the Milwaukee Yacht Club (McKinley Marina, 1700 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.). Before the event opens to the public, more than 30 boat owners are donating their time to take wish kids and their families on a boat ride through the Milwaukee River and into Lake Michigan. All proceeds from the event will go towards making more wishes come true for sick children. 

Evan Pezall. Photo courtesy of Heidi Pezall

Evan Pezall, an 8-year-old boy who suffers from a rare epilepsy disorder, initially chose a Disney Cruise as his wish with Make-A-Wish, a foundation dedicated to granting wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Evan is fascinated by boats and ships, and he had hopes of meeting the captain of the Disney Cruise. Due to his recently worsening medical state, his family decided the cruise was too big of a risk for Evan. 

“The Yacht Blast opportunity will give him a piece of what he was looking for but in a much safer environment,” Evan’s mother Heidi said. “He doesn’t have to lose out on his wish because of his medical condition, and he will get to feel special right here at home!”

The first Yacht Blast For Kids event was in 2009, started by Muskego resident Glenn Kennedy. Kennedy was vacationing in Florida when he met a child on his wish trip. The child, in awe of Kennedy’s boat, asked if he could go for a ride in it. When Kennedy returned to Wisconsin, he wanted other wish kids to experience the same excitement, and Yacht Blast For Kids was born. Since its 2009 inception, Yacht Blast For Kids has raised over $1 million and granted more than 140 wishes to local children.

Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish Wisconsin

“Yacht Blast For Kids is unique in the fact that it is a day centered around our wish kids getting out on the water and having a blast, but then coming back and having the community rally around them, and raise money to make more wishes come true,” said Make-A-Wish Wisconsin president and CEO Patti Gorsky. “It is really a winning combination.”

After lunch, there will be activities for kids, games and the silent auction. A large screen TV will be showing the Packers game, which will be accompanied by pools, raffles and more. Admission, which includes lunch, is $35 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. The event will be open to the public from 1:30 p.m. through 7 p.m.



Elisabeth Wallock is a contributing digital editor at Milwaukee Magazine. She graduated from Colorado State University and has interned at Marie Claire in New York and Urban Outfitters in London.