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Let’s make wishes possible: Make-A-Wish fundraiser set in Hammond

Most people are familiar with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It grants wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Unfortunately like many things in life, granting those wishes takes money.

Roberts resident Justin Gustafson knows this, and he wants to do something about it.

Gustafson, a New Richmond native, has put together a fundraiser event for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, which will be held Friday, July 11, at JJ’s Sports Bar in Hammond.

Gustafson, who does network marketing with Isagenix International (a dietary supplement and personal care products company headquartered in Chandler, Ariz.), said the company’s work with Make-A-Wish inspired him to put together a fundraiser.

“They give people plenty of opportunities to make smaller donations,” Gustafson said. “But I like to do things on a bigger level. Why not use our abilities and networks to get together and give?”

Gustafson said he has been working with Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s special events manager Andrea Hug, who is based in Milwaukee.

“She was really excited about it, because there aren’t a lot of fundraisers in our area for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin,” Gustafson said. “A lot of the ones around here leak over to the Twin Cities-area Make-A-Wish.”

Fundraiser event

The event will begin at noon Friday, July 11, with food and drink specials. Pulled pork sandwiches on bread donated by the Grateful Bread bakery in River Falls will be for sale, with chips, for $5.

Bill’s Distributing has donated beer for specials. The food and drink specials will continue all weekend long. Gustafson said every single penny from those sales will go toward the cause.

“Jesse (Penman, owner of JJ’s) really wanted to have it there,” Gustafson said. “He was pretty motivated. We all have such large networks. Why not use them for a reason?”

Gustafson is also planning a beer-pong tournament to appeal to younger generations.

“Many times people around my age don’t think about donating,” Gustafson said. “Hopefully this will help motivate them to donate more.”

The tournament costs $50 per team. A time is yet to be determined. A bean bag tournament will also be organized, with the time to be decided once teams are signed up.

All proceeds from both tournaments will go to Make-A-Wish, Gustafson said. Prizes will be awarded to the winners, all of which have been donated.

Raffles will continue through the night starting at 6 p.m. Gift certificates have been donated by many area businesses in New Richmond, Hammond, River Falls and Hudson, including Brady’s Brewhouse, Champs, Ready Randy’s, JJ’s, Ras’ On Main, Parkside Restaurant, Hammond Hotel, The Vault (tattoo parlor), Shooters Pub, Maverick’s Corner Saloon, The Agave Kitchen and Anchors End Tattoo.

Attendees will be asked to pay a $5 cover charge, and will be given a bracelet made by Gustafson and his group, RAW.

“Along with this I once again ask everyone to save the beer/pop tabs so that we can make those tab-bracelets we see everyone wearing and sell them for $5 a piece in hopes to raise even more money for the kids!” says a post by Gustafson on JJ’s Facebook page. “So please just put the tabs in your pocket and then store at home or start a jar at work and lets get this done. Also those who want to make the bracelets or have kids that want to help there is a post and a like on JJ's Sports Bar facebook page with a link on how to make them. You will be able to drop off tabs or bracelets at JJ's, if anyone else wants to take initiative and have your business be a place of drop off feel free and post where to do so.”

Glenwood City DJs Just Those Guys will provide music for the event.

Gustafson’s goal is to raise $10,000 for Make-A-Wish, and he has no doubt that it’s possible.

“I think $10,000 is realistic,” Gustafson said. “I know it can be done.”

For more information on the fundraiser or to enter a tournament, email Gustafson at or visit

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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