BINGHAMTON, NY – A non-profit organization is celebrating 35 years of making dreams come true for sick children in our area.
Make-A-Wish Central New York marked its 35th anniversary today at Traditions at the Glen by granting its 1,900th wish.
During the news conference, 5 year-old Natalie Stone of Oxford was surprised with a 12 week-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy that she’s naming Matilda.
Stone was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma when she was 3 and a half.
She had a tumor in one of her kidneys and that kidney had to be removed.
She is now cancer free.
Her mother, Kaitlin Stone, says Natalie always wanted a small dog that she could dress up.
“I got a little teary-eyed. It was a very emotional moment seeing that we’ve gotten through so much but here we are. This is a very happy day, not a happy ending, but a happy moment for us to have this,” said Stone.
Make A Wish Central New York is headquartered in Syracuse and covers a 15 county region including Broome, Tioga and Chenango Counties.
The local chapter raises all of its own money to grant wishes and relies on over 300 volunteers to solicit gifts and coordinate the wishes.
President and CEO Diane Kuppermann says the number of eligible children is growing as is the cost of the wishes, which averages about $12,000.
She says it’s all worth the money and effort.
“To be part of something so simple, and yet so powerful at the same time, it just never gets old. I keep tissues with me all the time and they’re tears of joy. Though the children are coping with very serious, critical illnesses, we’re the fun,” said Kupperman.
Kuppermann says there are currently over 150 wishes in the pipeline that require fundraising to grant, with about a quarter of them in Greater Binghamton.
She thanked Nelcorp Electrical Contracting for its continued financial support and PuppySpot for donating the Yorkie.
To volunteer or donate, click here.