Memorial funds in honor of Leighton Williams assist Make-A-Wish of the Mid-South

Photo by Jacob Moore

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Union’s Chi Omega sorority chapter granted a wish March 15 in memory of a sorority sister who unexpectedly died last semester.

Members of the Greek organization cheered along with a crowd of others from the Union community as they revealed to Amira, a child involved with Make-A-Wish of the Mid-South, that her wish had been granted and that she would be traveling to Disneyland.

The funds for the wish were given in lieu of flowers and in memory of Leighton Williams, a senior nursing major who died in September 2013.

Williams was traveling with her younger sister, Ashton, from Jackson to Nashville when her vehicle hydroplaned.

She died that night after sustaining injuries in the weather-related accident.

For the wish reveal, Amira arrived at the Carl Grant Event Center and was sent on a scavenger hunt throughout campus.

At each stop, she collected wooden stars that contained riddles leading to the next location.

At each location, she was met by a group from several Greek organizations and given a star.

Williams’ family also participated in the scavenger hunt.

“We were so blessed to be a part of Amira’s special day, and I hope that the day touched her life just as much as it did ours,” said Ashton Williams.

Following the stop at the baseball fields, Amira was led to the Chi Omega lodge on campus, where her family and members of Chi Omega and other Greek organizations were awaiting her arrival.

Once she arrived, she was welcomed with a giant announcement from all stating, “Amira, you’re going to Disneyland.”

The gathering was filled with emotion as members of the sorority reflected on the memory of Williams.

“This wish was extra special to us because not only do we share the joy with the child whose wish has been granted but also because it reminded us of Leighton and her love for Make-A-Wish,” said Anna Coley, junior elementary education major and chapter president of Chi Omega.

Each year, the sorority usually raises money through various fundraisers.

IN 2013, sorority members hosted a pancake breakfast in the fall. They also planned a 5k run/walk this spring, which was cancelled due to events that affected the university and its students.

However, this year’s wish was funded entirely through the memorial funds submitted to Make-A-Wish.

“All of our wish grantings are a major deal for us, especially since we are such a small chapter,” said Katy Wade, junior biology major and community service chair of the Chi Omega chapter.

“However, this one wish in particular meant more than anyone could possibly know,” Wade said.

“We all personally knew Leighton as a caring, beautiful person, inside and out, but the fact that even when she’s gone and still able to share her love for others and send a little girl to Disneyland, that speaks miles and miles about the kind of person she was and the impact that she continues to have today.”

About Jacob Moore 11 Articles
Jacob Moore served for two years as photo editor for the Cardinal & Cream. Beginning in his sophomore year, he worked as a photographer for the Office of University Communications at Union. He also worked as a barista at Barefoots Joe during his senior year. While in college, he interned and worked with The Jackson Sun, mentored in the after-school program at Skyline Church of Christ and served on the leadership team for the 2013 Southeastern Journalism Conference. He was recognized with an Academic Excellence Medal for a major in advertising.