In December 2010, young Connor felt sick. After some hospital visits and extensive testing, he was diagnosed with cancer.
His family was connected with Make-A-Wish Central New York, which found out that Connor’s wish was to be a pirate. The organization made that happen – sending Connor and his family on a Disney cruise.
“On that trip, we didn’t talk about treatment or doctors or anything that whole trip” says Connor’s Mom, Tracy. “We just jam packed it full of fun things and for me it was a huge help and for him too.”
“It helped me get all the stuff like the chemo off my mind and stuff, so it was a big help” says Connor. “The whole experience was amazing. I mean it helped a lot. Got my mind off of it. It was the best thing for me at the time.”
Connor’s wish is just one of the more than 2,000 wishes the organization has granted since it first started in 1985. That’s been possible due to generous donations by local community members and businesses.
“If you believe in the power of hope and the power of positive attitude, you just see the lives that are changed as a result of Make-A-Wish and we always say that medicine and Make-A-Wish together we hope will make miracles come true and we’ve seen a lot of that over the years” says Diane Kuppermann, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish Central New York.
200 kids are currently waiting for their wishes to be granted, as COVID-19 has slowed what can be done.
“Whether it’s complicated and challenging or whether it’s simple, the pure joy in helping that child see a wish come true and the possibility that it brings with it is just extraordinary and humbling” adds Diane.
Make-A-Wish Central New York also granted Noah’s wish, when he was struggling with an immune disorder. He and his family went to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
“It’d been a really difficult time and I think that it came at a great time to kind of give him a little more uplift and positive energy after he had really struggled for like a year” says Noah’s Mom, Jennifer.
The wish had such an impact on Noah, it inspired him to give back and help others. He’s started a program where he and other volunteers – many of them young people – create care bags with health and beauty essentials. They’re donated to families with kids in the hospital across several states.
“I think it’s really important to give back because so many people are doing good things for other people that it just feels good to give back to the community” says Noah.