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October 15, 2008 > Bowl, give, grant wishes

Bowl, give, grant wishes

By Dustin Findley
Photos By Courtesy of Veronica Johnson

Dylan Johnson had three open-heart surgeries by the time he was 25 months old, his first at 9 days old. Before Dylan had turned two, Veronica, Johnson, Dylan's mom, went on to the Make-a-Wish Foundation's website, at a time when she didn't know much about it. After the necessary arrangements, the Foundation sent the Johnson family to Disneyland. Veronica explained that "Dylan loved Mickey Mouse," and met Mickey Mouse 10 days before his passing. Dylan got his wish.

The Dylan Johnson bowl-a-thon has grown into a huge memorial and fundraiser. This year's will be the 9th, and "Veronica and Frank Johnson, Dylan's parents, work very hard on this event each year and they have raised more than $70,000 in the first eight years" said Mike Hillman from Cloverleaf Family Bowl, the venue for the bowl-a-thon. Veronica said "I'm just a mom on a mission."

Veronica's mission: to grant wishes. She raises money through the Dylan Johnson Bowl-a-thon and Dylan Johnson Golf Tournament, and she tries to educate people about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Veronica explained that the majority of people believe that the foundation grants wishes to children that are dying, when it strives to serve "children with life-threatening illnesses."

Here's how the Bowl-a-Thon works: Check-in at noon, play at 1 p.m., three games and shoes for $20. For the first time at this event, each participant will receive a t-shirt. Along with bowling there will be a live auction, silent auction, and raffle.

They will be auctioning - either live or silently - trips to Orlando, Florida; Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Springs and Tahoe.

There are over 140 items in the raffle, including a flat-screen TV (with built-in DVD player), camcorder, karaoke machine, keyboard, scooters, and more. Look for the balloon artist (not in the raffle).

The Golden State warriors donated an autographed basketball and jersey. The San Jose Sabercats are donating season tickets. The San Jose Saberkittens, cheerleaders for the Sabercats, will be there. "They're there every year and everybody loves them," Veronica said.

A couple of Make-A-Wish children will be there, bowling, and talking about wishes granted. One wished to swim with dolphins and the other wished to have a shopping spree.

Especially during the holidays Veronica said it's time "to reach out a little bit more and help other people." The Bowl-a-Thon will be the time and place to give a lot, and get a lot. "It's a fun-filled day I guarantee you will remember" Veronica said.

"Cloverleaf Family Bowl is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in this event as it is such a very worthy cause," said Mike Hillman.

For more information on the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit

Dylan Johnson Memorial Bowl-A-Thon
Saturday, October 18
12 p.m.
Cloverleaf Family Bowl
40645 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 656-4411

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