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Mukwonago boys basketball making wishes come true

Mukwonago basketball with the Stark family posing to celebrate the money raised for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. (Courtesy: Steve Pollnow, @RealStevie_P/Twitter)

MUKWONAGO, Wis. (BVM) — Granting a wish is no easy task. It takes time, effort and dedication to achieve such an immense goal. But if accomplished, it can serve as an unfathomable savior during a family’s darkest hour.

The Mukwonago High School boys basketball program – in conjunction with their Junior Indians team – has been able to grant such wishes. In the last eight years they have raised more than $120,000 for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin through their Free-Throw-Athon.

The Free-Throw-Athon began when the Indians former head coach Jim Haasser attended the Kaden’s Wish Fundraiser – a charity started by Kaden Stark and the Stark family to raise money for Make-A-Wish after Kaden’s wish of going to Disney World was granted. Inspired by Kaden, 172 athletes from third to twelfth grade shoot free throws earning money for each shot and/or a flat donation. Thus, Free-Throw-Athon was born.

Current head coach Steve Pollnow has continued the tradition and took it to the next level.

“I wanted to do something huge with it, so we put our goal at $20,000 and hoped it would grow from there,” Pollnow said.

It did grow. This year the Free-Throw-Athon raised over $40,000 with the generous Jendusa family matching the first $10,000 they had earned.

The event is held every year during the basketball season and even features former Make-A-Wish recipients who share their story, explaining what it meant to them and their family to have their wish granted.

“Their message always hits home with our boys and is the motivation for our kids to go earn money for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin,” Pollnow said.

Sadly, the inspiration for the event, Kaden Stark, passed away last September, but his legacy lives on. The Mukwonago basketball team continues to work hard to raise money so that more wishes can be granted.

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