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501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment - Fully Funded!
by Fleetfang on Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:37 pm

501st Legion Raises $150K and Fully Funds the 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment
Atlanta, Georgia, June 1, 2017 — The 501st Legion, the world’s largest Star Wars costuming organization, announces the completion of the initial funding commitment to the first-of-its kind international endowment, created in a unique partnership with Star Wars: Force For Change (Lucasfilm, LTD).

The 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment will allow Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International to grant Star Wars-related wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. The Legion’s endowment is the first truly global Make-A-Wish endowment, operating as a partnership between Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International.

The goal for raising the original fundraising commitment of $150,000 was set for September 2021, five years after the launch of the endowment in 2016. This goal for the 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment was completed in just 10 months.

The 501st Legion is now focused on raising an additional $350,000 by the original goal date of September 2021. Increasing the goal will allow the 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment to grant additional wishes to ailing children every year.

The Endowment relies on contributions from the 501st Legion’s membership as well as the public. The Legion does not charge for character appearances, but has always accepted donations to charities in honor of their presence at events. The Endowment will begin granting wishes from the interest accrued by June of 2018; as the fund continues to grow, so will the number of wishes granted.

Donations to the Endowment can be made at

The 501st Legion’s mission to give back to the community through charity and volunteerism will be significantly strengthened through the 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment, allowing the organization to band together for an even greater global impact.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, the 501st Legion is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to bringing beloved Star Wars characters to life. Founded in 1997 and now comprised of more than 11,000 members in over 60 countries, the 501st Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes. The group helps costumed fans organize for Star Wars-related events, and contributes to members’ local communities through costumed charity and volunteer work. Visit the 501st Legion at to learn more.
The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true has positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illness, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Headquartered in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 28,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 35 minutes. It has granted more than 270,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,800 in 2015 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at to learn more.

With the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, fans immediately began to embrace the film’s elements of struggle, hope, and inspiration on a more personal level. Philanthropy was very important to George Lucas. Beginning in 1977, he hosted screenings of Star Wars to raise money for charities around the world with a particular emphasis on children’s healthcare and education. Over the course of the last four decades, Star Wars fans have kept this philanthropic spirit alive by volunteering their time to countless charities across the world and raising millions of dollars in donations.
In this new era of Star Wars storytelling, Star Wars: Force for Change aims to support the immense passion and goodwill of our fans and promote change through inspiration, stories and meaningful partnerships- to bring out the hero in all of us. Visit to learn more.

Brian Troyan or Johnnie Saares
501st Legion Public Relations

Bobby Shively or Karl Gehring
501st Legion Charity Liaison

501st Legion 2016 Charity Report!
by Rhaethe on Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:56 pm

The 501st Legion is also known as the "Bad Guys Doing Good," and our passion for charity in our communities continues to grow! In 2016, we saw a 50% increase in direct donations contributed in honor of the Legion - we're nearing that $1M USD mark!

Last year also saw the foundation laid for our forever gift: The 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment Fund, which is currently over 80% of our goal of $150,000!

We'd like to thank all of the fans in the Star Wars community for their generosity. Without your support, none of this would be possible. To see the full impact of your contributions to our charitable efforts, we invite you to read the full details in the 2016 501st Legion Charitable Giving Report!

Celebrating Star Wars in Orlando
by Rhaethe on Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:19 pm

It’s the 20th Anniversary of the 501st Legion, and we’re inviting fellow fans to celebrate with us as Star Wars Celebration returns to Orlando, Florida!

From April 13-16, 2017, the Orange County Convention Center will be home to the year's largest assembly of scum and villainy, and the 501st is hosting a number of special events for the occasion.

Aside from amazing photo opportunities with thousands of characters, sets, and props, there will also be discussion panels, interactive games, and even an Easter Egg hunt!

Visit for more details on our activities and panels.

Special thanks to Nissan as our Platinum Level Sponsor for Celebration Orlando.

Troopers That Go the Extra Parsec
by Kyro on Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:30 am
Today, I would like to honor eight 501st Legion members from around the world for their great deeds.

In 2016, the 501st Legion set up an endowment with both Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International - the first endowment to bridge both organizations. The 501st Legion argued that we are an international group of volunteers and we wanted the endowment to sponsor children from around the world. Our goal was to raise $150,000 over the course of 5 years to fund the endowment.

Just a short while after the endowment was created, a few members had the idea to create a 501st Legion T-shirt drive to raise money for the endowment fund. In yet another bold maneuver, the Legion offered T-shirts to the public with the 501st Legion logo(along with the MAW logo) for the first time in the Legion’s near 20 year history. This T-shirt sale went viral and raised over $99,400. The Legion’s Georgia Garrison, loving round numbers, quickly and graciously hopped in and donated the rest necessary to bring the total up to $100,000. This is a MONUMENTAL achievement!! In a few short months, the 501st has cleared 2/3 of it's 5 year plan! The endowment now stands at above $113,000 and continues to grow.

I would like to recognize the members who drove this effort to an EPIC WIN:

Brett Schoenwald - TI-11440 – Brett conceptualized and took ownership over the project. He worked diligently on the marketing pieces used to promote the drive, and worked directly with in both a fact-finding and operational capacity.

Bobby Shively- TK-31100 – Bobby helped run the program from a 501st leadership standpoint, clearing the way of obstacles and providing those working on the project room to operate. Bobby also helped coordinate with some celebrities and Legion personalities such as Albin Johnson.

Lesley Farquhar – TR-3774 – Lesley championed the project on a Legion-level and assisted with the interface between the 501st, LFL, and Make-A-Wish to secure permission for the project including all logo usage and placement. Lesley to bring Brett’s ideas to fruition.

Scot Alan Wilcox - TK-42194 – Scot operated on a regional level helping secure the participation of Alamo Drafthouse, Imperial Boots and Gamestop. In addition, Scot provided counsel and assistance from a logistical standpoint.

Karl Gehring - TB-1292 – Karl helped coordinate celebrity and Legion-adjacent involvement (Mayhews, WTF Armor, Houston Dynamo, media outreach etc.) as well as providing counsel and assistance from a logistical standpoint. In addition, Karl wrote the requested article for LFL/Force For Change.


Kay Küstner - TK-21876
René Reichlin - SL-18808
Serge Krall - CC-8981

In the fall of 2015, German Garrison members trooped a hospital event at at the Olga Hospital in Stuttgart. There they met a little boy named Pedram Cham. Pedram was suffering from cancer and needed a wheelchair to move around. It was this event where Kay, René, and Serge met Pedram. Afterwards the three German Garrison troopers kept in contact with Pedram and his family.

Often times Kay and the others would visit with Pedram. In December, the troopers took Pedram to the UFA-PALAST (theater) in Stuttgart to see The Force Awakens the day after the premier. Pedram and his whole family were overjoyed and thankful. From the very first meeting at the hospital, Kay, René, and Serge developed a closer relationship with Pedram and his family.

In late January of 2016, Pedram lost his battle with cancer. Pedram's family made a special request for the German Garrison to present an Honor Guard at Pedram's wake. They also asked if the Honor Guard could escort Pedram to his final resting place. Kay, René, and Serge, along with German Garrison, granted Pedram this final wish.

It is not uncommon for troopers in the 501st Legion to attend events and impact people in a positive way. It is more rare for troopers to go out of their way to take a sick Star Wars fan under their wing and provide relief or distraction on a routine basis. Kay, René, and Serge brought joy and happiness to Pedram's life in his final days. There is certainly no greater deed that 501st Legion members can do. I salute these troopers from the German Garrison!

Please join me in recognizing the phenomenal efforts of these troopers who do the 501st Legion proud.

Bryon S. Mesarch, TK/CC-2390
Northern Darkness Garrison
501st Legion Commanding Officer

Carrie Fisher 1956 - 2016
by Kyro on Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:46 pm
The 501st Legion honors actress, author, and Honorary Member, Carrie Fisher. Carrie was a friend and hero to the 501st, sharing her famous wit and charm with our members countless times over the years. Carrie's untimely departure was a blow to the Legion's members, who have responded by joining fans worldwide in paying tribute to her for her acting, her writing, and her tireless mental-health advocacy.

The 501st has joined other fans in vigils held in Carrie Fisher's honor:

Memorial Lightsaber Walk - December 30, Tempe, AZ
Carrie Fisher Memorial - December 28, San Francisco, CA
Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum - December 28, Denver, CO
Lightsaber Vigil - December 30, Seattle, WA
Carrie Fisher Candlelight Vigil - December 30, New York, NY
Carrie Fisher Memorial - December 30, Littleton, CO
Lightsaber Vigils - December 28, San Antonio, Laredo, New Braunfels, and Austin, TX
Carrie Fisher Memorial - December 30, Atlanta, GA
Lightsaber Vigil - December 30, Anaheim

"Never Tell Her The Odds"
by Kyro on Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:26 pm
Kathlyn Chassey is a 24-year-old Star Wars fan battling Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disease. Her condition has progressed to the point where she will not survive without a lung transplant. After being initially denied her life-saving operation, Kathlyn was able to enlist the help of a few friends of hers: including the 501st Legion and her life-long friend, actor Peter Mayhew. Mr. Mayhew is beloved worldwide for bringing Chewbacca to life, and now for his and his wife's tireless efforts to save Kathlyn's.

Kathlyn's request for help has since been met with a swell of support from the Peter Mayhew Foundation, 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, and Star Wars fans worldwide. In addition to being sent countless well-wishes from the public and an assortment of donated Star Wars merchandise, Kathlyn also got something she's wanted for quite some time: membership in the 501st Legion and her very own ID number: TX-65651. But most importantly, Kathlyn has been reevaluated and placed at the top of the list for a lung transplant.

If you would like to help support Kathlyn in her fight, you can do so buy participating in the charity auction held by the Peter Mayhew Foundation ( ) or by donating to Kathlyn's medical fund ( ).

We will continue to update our followers with news on Kathlyn. Until then, we wish Kathlyn all the best and look forward to telling you about her speedy recovery.

For updates on Kathlyn:

Medical Bills Donations for Kathlyn:

Press Release:


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