(WSYR-TV) — “My wish was to be a pirate and sail the seven seas. I think it just came from my six-year-old little mind,” said Connor, when speaking on his wish as a child when Make-A-Wish approached his family.
He’s just one of more than 2,000 kids facing critical health challenges who’ve had wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Central New York since 1985.
“You know, when they’re diagnosed, they don’t want to be known as that kid with cancer or the kid with kidney disease,” said Diane Kupperman of Make-A-Wish CNY.
Instead, Make-A-Wish changes their story. They become the kid that got to meet the Yankees, or the kid that has a new pool in their backyard.
Connor and his family went to Walt Disney World. He swam with dolphins, he met Mickey Mouse. And for the whole trip, he never thought about hospitals or doctors or the kidney cancer that threatened his life.
“The whole experience was amazing. I mean, it helped a lot, got my mind off of it. It was like the best thing for me at the time,” Connor said about the experience.
Now, ten years past his diagnosis, Connor is doing great.
Noah’s immune disorder is also in check. His surprise came at the Dome, when he thought he was going to shoot some baskets, but Coach Boeheim had other thoughts. When Noah was on the court, Boeheim told him he would be granted his wish to visit Walt Disney World.
“Those good memories that you make during your wish can get you through sometimes,” said Kuppermann. “Hope is such a powerful emotion. If you believe in the power of hope and the power of a positive attitude, you just see the lives that are changed.”
Both families marvel at what Make-A-Wish staff and volunteers make happen.
Noah’s mom, Jennifer, said of the experience, “It’s for the whole family. Yes, the focus is on the child, but they really are very supportive of the whole family.”
World Wish Day, marking the birth of the Make A Wish Foundation, is coming up April 29th.
“If you can volunteer, if you can join, if you can do anything to help. It’s the absolute best cause,” said Connor’s mom Tracy.