Family reunited by Make-A-Wish

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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

The Beauty of Illness

By: Melissa Heffron, Wish Mom

At the very moment your child receives a life-threatening diagnosis, life, as you know it, ceases to exist. As you slowly start to digest the conversation that you had with the doctor, you gradually find yourself falling into an unimaginably scary, deep, and never ending abyss. You start questioning everything – science, yourself, the environment, God. You wonder how you’re going to put one foot in front of the other, let alone care for the rest of your family. In your deepest despair, you silently debate whether or not anyone would care if you stayed in your room and never emerged.  Continue reading

Wishing It Forward

by Olivia Faith Lounsbury, Wish Kid

You know when you’re a little kid, and you always dreamed of being a ballerina, or a firefighter, or a teacher, or a princess?

Each and every child is deserving of this outlook, for at least the nascent stages of their lives. The world through those innocent, rose-colored glasses is something we all look back on fondly, reminiscing of a simpler time.

What happens when this shining outlook is stolen from a four-year-old, seized without any hope of recapture? What happens when this child begins to lose the hope that makes them just that: a child. Once those stylish rose-colored glasses come off, is there any way to put them back on?second

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stole my life for one year and two months, and fortified every minute thereafter. I was brought to the hospital on my fourth birthday. While all of the other children were enjoying cake, concerned only with the thought of not having a second serving, I was laying in my mother’s bed, listening to the din of what was supposed to be my birthday party. I couldn’t sleep but I felt like I needed to rest for five years. Something was wrong.  Continue reading

Kyla’s Story

By Brian Heffron, Wish Dad

photo 2.jpgIn May 2014, while giving my daughter a bath, my wife and I noticed something odd. In addition to looking very pale, she had tiny red dots and bruises on her body. We decided to have our pediatrician check it out, but were not worried.

Twenty four hours later, Kyla was rushed to the emergency room. She was running out of blood. And what was more frightening is that the doctors were not sure why.

After weeks of transfusions and countless tests, Kyla was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, an extremely rare disease that nearly ceases her body’s production of blood cells and causes her body’s immune system to fail to fight against even the weakest of germs. After spending the majority of half a year inpatient at our local children’s hospital, doctors informed us the treatment was not working. The only option for Kyla’s survival was a bone marrow transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Continue reading

My Hawaii Wish, My Happy Place

By Breonna Popluhar, Wish Kid

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In November, I was told that Make-A-Wish®     Central New York had granted my wish to go to Maui, Hawaii on my birthday. I was beyond excited. As far as vacations go, my family and I had never really been anywhere tropical, so I knew this would be a good experience.

We arrived in Maui on November 11, the day before my birthday. As soon as we got off the plane, I knew it would be great. We were immediately greeted by a Make-A-Wish® Hawaii volunteer, who kindly gave us beautiful flowery leis and tips about things to do on the island and how to get around. The hotel we stayed at was beautiful. Every morning there was a penguin feeding in the main lobby, which was wicked cool. The pool area was huge and there was a path behind it that led to different places around the island.  Continue reading