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.

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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