Angela Townley, fall volunteer of the month

Angela Townley

Angela Townley officially started volunteering with Make-A-Wish in 2001.  However, the relationship first started long before that.  Angela established a relationship with Make-A-Wish Central New York in 1991 through her job at US Airways.

At that time, Angela and a group of other employees would send Wish families off on their flight.  They would also hold 50/50 raffles to raise money to purchase items to make up activity bags for Wish Kids and any children traveling with them.

Angela has also played a crucial role in events such as the annual Sugarman Law Firm Wish Ball, Dunkin Donuts Program, and the Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon.  Most of Angela’s volunteer time is spent creating the baskets that are raffled off at the annual golf tournaments.

For Angela, the reason she spends so much of her time volunteering is simple. “Over time I’ve seen that that not only the Wish Kid and family are impacted by the wish, but it has a tremendous impact on the volunteers and members of the community.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know that recent studies indicate that the health of many Wish Kids improves after a wish has been granted.”


The Italian Dream

Ayden’s wish to go to Rome, Italy was a life-changing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. His wish trip meant more to him than just traveling to another country; visiting Italy was a dream realized! Ayden has contended with a cardiac condition for years. When he was first connected with Make-A-Wish, he was visited by wish-granting volunteers who asked him a special question:  “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”

Although answering a question like that can sometimes take a while for a child to answer, Ayden knew exactly what his wish would be!

Ayden Senzarino (1) Continue reading

Tyler’s Wish Trip to the Winter X Games

A Lifetime Trip Come True:

Tyler with 2018 X-Games extreme sports athletes.

Despite living with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening lung condition, 12-year-old Tyler Halpin of Onondaga County loves being active in the outdoors. His favorite sport is snowboarding but, given the opportunity, he’ll also go skiing or snowmobiling – any sport in the snow is just fine!

It’s not hard to understand why, when Make-A-Wish Central New York offered Tyler a wish, snow would be involved…and lots of it!

In January, Tyler traveled with his family to Aspen, Colorado to watch and experience the Winter X Games, a competition of winter sport athletes from around the world. The Stonebridge Inn served as home base during his wish trip, which included meeting ESPN reps, watching skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling competitions from the VIP section, and going snowboarding. Trip highlights included meeting celebrities, taking in a Method Man and Redmond concert, and being a part of the Games’ awards ceremony!

Though he’s been home for a few months now, Tyler’s memories of his very special wish are still fresh. The best part – he has an overflowing bag of X Games “swag,” including some very special new snowboards, to remind him of the amazing experience!







More than an Internship

by Jessica Ryan

As an intern at Make-A-Wish, I have learned a lot about the organization, myself, and life. This internship was more than just gaining experience, or working in a professional environment, this experience has helped me to grow as an individual. I came into this position hoping to improve on communication skills, organization and adapting to new people and work. I knew I was going to have to make the drive from the State University of New York at Oswego three times a week to the office, but that never once phased me knowing I was helping an organization that does so much to ease the lives of others.

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Domanic as a Carolina Panther

Domanic wanted nothing but to become a Carolina Panther for just one day. He has been a Panther’s fan for as long as he remembers. The Carolina Panthers were not only special to Domanic, but the team enriched his relationship with his father. Domanic and his father spent time bonding over watching the football games together for years.

When talking about his wish experience, Domanic says his favorite parts of the wish experience consisted of being in the locker room with the players and getting to hang out with them, as well as being on the field practicing with the team.

Domanic 5

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Family reunited by Make-A-Wish


While Anna was going through treatment for a rare brain tumor, she spent months in Tennessee at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At the start of treatment she was nothing but anxious about what she was going to endure without all of her family by her side. After learning the Make-A-Wish Foundation could make something she dreamed of come true when she completed treatment, she became excited and this changed everything for her!

With her family being split apart in two different states for so long, Anna dreamed of everyone being back together again. Her wish was to spend quality time with her mom, dad, sister and brother in a place she’s dreamt of visiting, Maui, Hawaii.

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25 years of wish granting: Celebrating Debbie Bender and Marilyn Sanson

Twenty-five years ago, Make-A-Wish Central New York wish-granting volunteers Marilyn Sanson and Deborah “Debbie” Bender, became involved with the organization after their sons embarked on a cross country adventure of a lifetime. Debbie and Marilyn’s sons biked more than 3,000 miles from Seattle to Syracuse to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Central New York. 12376008_1088847357821961_6668541564263758513_n[1]Upon their sons’ return to Syracuse, Debbie and Marilyn, otherwise known as the “dynamic duo,” began volunteering as wish granters and have since granted wishes for more than 113 children  throughout the 15 counties served by Make-A-Wish Central New York. Their exemplary work ethic has inspired practices and policies in use today for volunteer training and to ensure each wish is as unique as the children who make them. Continue reading