It’s been nine years since Jeff and Judy Hansen lost their youngest son, Bryce, to a battle with a brain tumor.
The pain of their loss is still palpable, as is their resolve to keep his memory alive and try to help others who face a similar fight against childhood cancer, with the return of a wine-tasting fundraiser to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) through Bryce’s Bridge of Hope.
“They made a difference in our life,” Judy Hansen said. “We hope that we can make a difference for many children.”
While Bryce was undergoing treatment, the Hansens said CHOP was a welcoming, protective environment for the 2-year-old.
“That became our second home,” Judy Hansen said. “They became family to us.”
And likewise, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where Judy has been a volunteer for the last seven years, gave them a simple, yet memorable day: Bryce, who would shoulder a tiny backpack and watch from the front window when his brothers came home from school, wanted nothing more than to ride a school bus.
With the help of DeHart & Son, they were able to spend a memorable afternoon getting Bryce his wish—including a run through the drive-through at McDonald’s.
“It’s a day we’ll never forget,” Judy Hansen said.
The Hansens have taken an active role in trying to help children like Bryce since then, first creating a golf tournament, which raised more than $250,000 over five years, then moving to the wine-tasting night to reach a wider audience.
This year’s wine-tasting takes place Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with 100 different wines on hand, along with light hors d'oeuvres and a pasta station, plus a basket auction and live jazz band.
They’ve decided to move the event to RiverWinds this year, at least in part because they had to turn away people at the door in 2010 because they simply ran out of space.
“We don’t want that to happen this year,” Jeff Hansen said.
They’re hoping to have between 200 and 300 people attend, and top their fundraising effort from their last wine-tasting in 2010, which brought in $13,000.
The Hansens’ hope is that through fundraising efforts like theirs, treatments can advance to the point where families don’t have to suffer the heartbreak they felt when they lost Bryce.
“There’s nothing worse than watching your kid going through anything like that,” Jeff Hansen said. “You know what they’re going through, and it’s just devastating.”
Tickets will be available at the door, are available in advance by contacting Jeff or Judy Hansen at 856-848-6357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.