Faces of Make-A-Wish
“You gave him something I couldn’t have given him. You made him forget his daily struggles; to simply breathe while he inhaled and exhaled the salt air with a continuous smile from ear to ear. The memories you have helped create are priceless!” – Rema, Nathan’s mother
Nathan lives with cystic fibrosis, and wished to go to Australia.
“I can’t remember a time when he laughed so hard.” – Jen, Jonah’s mother
Jonah suffers from Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. He wished to go to Disney World to see Cars.
“In those moments, I felt love, peace and grace. To escape the conditions of my health and life for a few minutes, to live in a moment of wonder, it was like living again. It was a wish so powerful it transformed me into who I am today; changing the way I viewed and battled through my condition, strengthening and inspiring me through pain and poverty, and guiding me along paths of hope.”
Isaiah lives with Sickle Cell disease, and wished to meet Catwoman.
“Our family can’t thank Make-A-Wish enough. You have given our family so much more happiness to see the joy in Aubrey’s face when she plays in our backyard. She’s ecstatic to know she can come home, play outside, and feel like a normal kid.”
– Debbie, Aubrey's mother
Aubrey diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM), which prevents her from spending time in direct sunlight. Her wish was to have backyard toys in a covered area so she could play outside.
“It changed my life. It was one week where we weren’t worrying about my illness or my next doctor’s appointment. Those seven days of sun, sand, and Mickey Mouse created a bond between my family and I that no illness can take from me.”
Angelica was diagnosed with Hereditary Angioedema, and wished to go to Disney World at Christmas. Since her wish, Angelica has remained active with Make-A-Wish, and has raised almost $20,000 with her family.
"Andy truly had the time of his life on that stage! He said it was surreal and life-changing... He became a celebrity; all night people were coming over to meet him. It made him not feel invisible anymore. It was amazing to see his whole world change in an instant." – Nichole, Anderson's volunteer
Anderson is 17, and was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, which has made him deaf/hard
of hearing and unable to speak. (You may recognize him from his popular Youtube channel Andy Signs). His wish was to meet Twenty One Pilots and sign one song with them. He’ll
be joined by his volunteer, who acts as his interpreter, and we’ll be broadcasting him
signing through the interview live on Facebook.
Chris has been a volunteer with Make-A-Wish for over five years and has helped grant 43 wishes so far. He is one of our only volunteers who is fluent in American Sign Language, and worked with Anderson to meet the twenty one pilots. When he’s not volunteering, he works as an interpreter for inmates in a correctional facility. He got involved because of his personal motto, “To make difference in someone’s life is what I strive for.”
Mary and Jill
are both kindergarten teachers who have been volunteering with Make-A-Wish for four years as wish granters and at events. Their favorite part of volunteering is being the “wish fairy” to so many kids and say that it truly made a difference in their lives.
“I have been touched by all of the wonderful children and families that I have met as a Wish Grantor,” Mary said. “Seeing the smiles of their face and the relief that families receive during this ‘magical time’ is priceless.”
has been a volunteer with Make-A-Wish for one year – her first event was the 2016 Radio-thon! In her first year, she has personally granted nine wishes! She volunteers as a wish granter, at events, and with our medical outreach group.
Barbara Bambach, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor in pediatrics through the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology, which she has been practicing for almost 25 years. She is also the Clinical Director of the pediatric BMT program at Roswell Park. Barbara has been involved with Make-A-Wish for more than 10 years as a member of their Medical Advisory Council. More recently, she has also been involved as a member of the chapter’s Wish Committee.
Phil Lussier is the CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro and Western New York. He has been involved with Make-A-Wish since September 2001, when his oldest son had his wish granted to sing the National Anthem at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game. He works closely with volunteer leaders, donors, and supporters throughout the chapter to achieve our vision of reaching Every Eligible Child.