Chapter Spotlight: Dayton

The Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation was founded in December of 1983 by Dayton Police officer David Lantz.  Mr. Lantz had read an article about a little girl being sent to Florida by ASW and was quite moved by the story.  He contacted Ramona to see how he could help and the rest is history.  In January of 1984, the chapter’s first wish to Walt Disney World was granted to an 8-year old boy battling leukemia.  Bryan wanted to go meet Goofy and ride a roller coaster.  Thanks to a generous donation by Bill & Faye Elam, owners of Bill’s Donut Shop, Bryan and his parents had a magical trip.  Shortly after the first wish trip, ASW forged a partnership with Dayton Children’s Hospital and 36 years later ASW-Dayton is still the hospitals wish granter. ASW-Dayton grants about 45 wishes per year and has granted over 1,750 wishes to local children since its inception.

With over18 years of not-for-profit leadership and fundraising experience, Dave Seyer joined A Special Wish Foundation Dayton Chapter, as the executive director, in 2011, and has served as an at-large member on the National Board of Governors of A Special Wish Foundation since 2016.  He is a graduate of the University of Dayton and is an avid Flyer fan, political junkie, sports nut, believes in equality for all and kindness is always the best policy.  Seyer lives in Centerville, OH with his husband Keith and their two corgis Lilly and Maggie.

ASW-Dayton currently employs two other full-time employees.  Other staff members include Amber Maham, Development and Special Events Manager, and Tyler Gregory, Wish Manager.

When asked about their most memorable wishes, two came to mind.  First, was in 2012 when then nine-year-old Owen met President Obama.  Gavin has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, and he and his family were big fans of President Obama.  So, of course, Owen’s wish was to go to Washington D.C. and meet with the President. Knowing 2012 was an election year and the chances of meeting with Obama in D.C. would be difficult, ASW promised Owen that he would to go to D.C. and also wherever the President wanted to meet him. After working closely with Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, in July 2012, Owen was to meet President Obama in Cincinnati.  The meeting was over 30 minutes long with the President speaking with Owen about many topics.  The President also invited Owen and his family to the White House to play with Bo, the Presidential dog!

Second, was nine-year-old Gavin’s wish to meet Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  Gavin had Cystic Fibrosis, but Gavin and his father were big race car fans, with their favorite driver being Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Gavin’s wish was to go-cart race with Jr. ASW reached out to Jr.’s assistant and he immediately said yes.  The trip included a VIP red carpet arrival at the hotel, dinner at Jr.’s Country Club, a shopping spree at his retail store, and a day with Jr. at his North Carolina ranch, where Gavin race Dale and three other NASCAR drivers.  He also had lunch in Dale’s garage, played on his property, and left with the “88” decal rom Jr.’s race car!

Dayton is one of our oldest and most successful chapters, and we thank them for their dedicated work to our mission of granting wishes to children with life-threatening disorders.