NEW ORLEANS - Brandon Alexander was born with a rare childhood kidney cancer. It's been a tough road, but around Christmas of 2012, the three year old was granted the wish of a lifetime.
“Right at the end when he took his last chemo [treatment], two weeks later we were flying to Orlando,” said Brandon’s mom, Sheena Alexander.
Brandon, his two sisters and his parents were given an all-expense paid trip to Disney World for a week.
“It was overwhelming, it was joyful, it was a blessing,” said Alexander.
That blessing was organized by a local non-profit called A Child's Wish, and funded in part by the Barman's Fund, a group of 12 to 15 bartenders who donate their tips once a month to local charities.
“It's so hard not to give, it's almost impossible not to get hooked into it because the feeling is so good,” said David Naser, director of the New Orleans Chapter of the Barman's Fund, and bartender at Jimani.
Tuesday night, the Barman's Fund celebrated its second anniversary at Indulge Island Grill in the Central Business District, and all tips will go toward granting another child's wish.
“I think it really adds a great longevity to these children, it re-inspires their family to fight,” said Lenny Alsfeld, co-founder and president of A Child’s Wish.
The Barman's Fund doesn't just send money. Bartenders help buy supplies for organizations like Second Harvest Food bank and local women's shelters.
“That's all it took for me is that one shopping trip, and we dropped off the stuff and the tears started rolling and the hugs came around,” said Naser.
Giving up being paid for a night can be tough on many bartender's pocketbooks, but Naser says it's worth it.
“Drink with a purpose," Naser said. "That's our motto you know."
It's a motto that has helped children like Brandon. He is now in remission and his family will never forget the wish that was granted for them.
A Child's Wish has granted more than 1,300 wishes for Louisiana children with life-threatening illnesses since 1982. If you would like to learn more, log onto www.achildswish.org.
The Barman’s Fund welcomes any bartender who is interested. Log onto www.thebarmansfund.org to find out more.