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Make-A-Wish Boss Supports the Lakers

After reading T.J. Simers’ April 28 column about his attempts to facilitate a child’s wish, I felt compelled to respond on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation children worldwide whose wishes were granted because of the support we receive from the Los Angeles Lakers and, in particular, Laker Community Relations Director Eugenia Chow.

Ms. Chow’s ability to consistently work with our organization while dealing with the other demands of her job has allowed more children than ever to receive a Laker wish; nearly 30 this year alone. She also personally arranges special touches, like putting the child’s name up on the board at Staples Center, to ensure the child receives an even more wonderful experience.

Fortunately for us, the Lakers make time for each wish request we submit from children living with life-threatening illnesses. Even more fortunately for the children, not every child dies as a result of their illness. For many children, the wish experience provides hope and strength to help them fight the battle with disease.

It should be clarified that Jose received his wish for a laptop computer from our foundation last summer. As we can only provide one wish per child, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was glad we provided Jose with the one wish he wanted most in the world. The compassion, dedication and generosity that Eugenia Chow and the entire Laker organization provide to Make-A-Wish children who come from around the world with their wishes is greatly appreciated by the entire Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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Judith K. Lewis

President/CEO, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles

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I would like to express my disappointment in T.J. Simers for writing, and The Times for printing, the story that unfairly criticizes our director of community relations, Eugenia Chow. Mr. Simers’ comments were hard and uncalled for. While a story so critical would have been bad enough had it been about myself, a coach or a player, we at least are public figures and supposedly fair game for such stories. Eugenia Chow is not. What she is, however, is an intelligent, hard-working and conscientious employee. She is also a very compassionate and caring person.

In a perfect world, organizations such as Padres Contra El Cancer and the Lakers would be able to grant the wishes of every sick child. Indeed, in a perfect world, there would be no sick children. However, what Mr. Simers fails to mention in his one-sided character assessment of Eugenia is that her work has brought smiles to the faces, and happiness and joy to the lives, of literally thousands of children and their families in the three years she has been with us. She is a significant part of our organization and we’re happy and proud that she is part of the Laker family.

Mitch Kupchak

General Manager,

Los Angeles Lakers

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I have always been willing to give Mr. Simers the benefit of the doubt in his “tongue-in-cheek” columns when he takes shots at the Dodgers, USC, etc. His unwarranted attack on the Lakers regarding the terminally ill young man is just too much and is really quite sick.

If he is so indignant about the situation, why doesn’t he volunteer with Make-A-Wish, or some other organization that could change the situation? Or he could work in a hospice. Nah, too much work, especially when you can sit on the sidelines and take cowardly shots from the safety of your desk.

Tom Pevehouse

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