Westmont Magazine Students Fulfill Marketing Dreams
Auction Helps a Wish Come True for Two Young Cancer Patients
More than 30 Westmont students tested their marketing strategy by raising enough capital to make at least two dreams come true. Professor Carter Crockett’s marketing class organized a silent auction to send 15-year-old cancer patient Alyssa Smelley to Disneyland. Her father, Russell Smelley, is the longtime track and cross country coach at Westmont.
Last summer, Alyssa was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She celebrated her 15th birthday in April and asked to visit Disneyland with her family and friends.
The students worked with the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties to realize Alyssa’s dream. Not only did they raise enough money for her, but they had funds left over for another child with cancer to make the trip to Disneyland.
“We decided to help Alyssa by popular vote after taking into consideration many other options,” said student Jason Alexander. “It’s a cause that affects all students and gives us the opportunity to help someone in our community and others like her.”
In an encouraging show of support, nearly 150 people attended the event in April. Enthusiastic bidding for objects ranging from trips to pianos brought in more than $15,000, three times the goal of $5,000.
“It was inspirational watching the students put on a first-class affair,” Coach Smelley said. “It was heart-warming and just plain awesome to have Alyssa’s full Disneyland wish fulfilled because of the efforts of the students and the donations of so many patrons. We are so grateful.”
While she was well enough to enjoy Disneyland, Alyssa’s health gradually declined after the trip. She died peacefully July 4, her Independence Day from cancer, surrounded by family and friends.