SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Make-A-Wish of Central New York held its annual Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 15, featuring the SU men’s basketball team.
This year’s Make-A-Wish luncheon marks the start of a new era with coach Adrian Autry at the helm of the team. And it’s the event’s first time being held in the JMA Wireless Dome.
“This has been a pipe dream of ours, to have this event in [the] Dome. We never dreamed that it would be in reach for us,” said Diane Kuppermann, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Central New York.
The luncheon has raised nearly $2 million since it started. The money raised grants wishes to kids who are living with critical illnesses.
“Last year, we granted a record 93 wishes for our chapter, and this year, we’ve got to grant more because there are too many kids waiting for their wishes. And kids shouldn’t have to wait to have their wishes come true,” Kuppermann said.
Kuppermann emphasizes wishes are more than just a moment. They leave an impact on kids for the rest of their lives.
“I think what’s remarkable is how powerful it is to know that somebody just saw what was happening to you and acknowledged that this is happening to you,” said Jesse Parde, who was a Make-A-Wish kid herself. “When you’re sick, the world stops for you, but it keeps going for everyone else, and Make-A-Wish is there to say, we’ll stop too.”
Jesse was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2009 when she was 17 years old. Make-A-Wish Foundation made sure that she got her wish of auditioning on Broadway.