Last updateWed, 13 Jun 2018 12am

Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers helps grant teens wish


For most of their 52 years in business, the people at Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers have been involved with fund raising for many organizations and causes. Auctions, fashion shows, raffles and special events are regular occurrences for owners Alice Herring and Jan Fergerson and their staff.

Recently they got to play a different roll when the Rome, Georgia jeweler hosted the wish granting party for a local teen awarded with what may be the trip of a lifetime.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation (Georgia and Alabama Chapter) and Ford, Gittings and Kane Jewelers together helped send 18 year old Brittany Weldon and three of her family members on a dream trip to Hawaii. On May 25th, the store hosted a reception for Brittany, her family and friends as a sort of bon voyage party. The staff decorated Hawaiian style and had flower leis for all the guests along with Brittany’s favorite teenage snacks - gummy bears and chips and dips.

Local Make-A-Wish volunteers attended the event representing the regional chapter for the presentation.

“After the reception we took Brittany out to dinner at her favorite restaurant, The Olive Garden,” said Fergerson of the special afternoon. “We’re trying to fulfill all her wishes, the big ones and the little ones.”

Wish recipient Brittany Weldon (front 2nd from left), with her best friend, her mother and her sister (far right). (Back row from left) Alice Herring and Jan Fergerson, owners of Ford, Gittings and Kane (Rome, GA), Judy Lince, Executive Director Georgia Jewelers Association and Brittany’s father.

This summer the family will travel to the islands for a week long vacation as Brittany, who graduated from high school this spring, receives her much anticipated wish.

The 18 year old suffers from cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Half a century ago, few children with cystic fibrosis survived to make it through elementary school, so Brittany’s graduation from high school was no small feat. Brittany looks just like “the girl next door” so it’s not apparent when meeting her the struggles she faces each day living with her disease.

Besides the wonderful trip, made possible through donations raised by the regional Make-A-Wish Foundation, the store provided gifts for Brittany and her family. An 18” strand of pearls with an 18kt white gold clasp is to serve as a reminder of her trip to the “Pearl of the Pacific.” A silver photo album engraved with Hawaii 2010 to be filled with photos from their trip, will remind her parents for years to come of this special time with their daughter. Both Brittany and her sister received beach bags with beach towels and for Brittany new sandals and sleepwear for her trip.

Upon opening her necklace and admiring it with awe, the teen said that she “felt rich” to own such a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Ford, Gittings and Kane became involved in Make-A-Wish through their membership in Georgia Jewelers Association and the AGS Conclave, both of which actively participate in Jewelers for Children.

JFC is a non-profit organization that raises money in the fine jewelry and watch industries that is used to help children who are the victims of catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect. Since 1999, nearly $35 million dollars has been raised from the industry, including manufacturers, retail jewelers, watch companies, trade associations, and those who provide professional services to the industry. JFC raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and their other legacy partners St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and National CASA Association.

At the April, 2010 Georgia Jewelers Convention (held in conjunction with Alabama Jewelers Association) Fergerson along with other Georgia and Alabama jewelers in attendance helped raise $1500 in silent auction and raffle proceeds for Make-A-Wish of Alabama and Georgia.

Brittany plans to go to college this fall and hopes to have opportunities to learn and grow just like other newly graduated high school students. After meeting Brittany, we know it will be much more challenging for her than her peers, but you just know she has the drive and perseverance to make it happen. Good luck Brittany!

If you would like to become involved in Make-A-Wish or any of the other JFC legacy partner charities contact executive director David Rocha at JFC headquarters (212-687-2949) or your local Make-A-Wish office.