This year Anthony Gordon, 14, a “Wish” recipient, will be be on hand to speak about how important the Make-A-Wish program is for families. Anthony is the grandson of Christine Gordon of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty in Goshen, and he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 12. He has had two years of chemotherapy and a year of treatments.
Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley is a nonprofit group that grants the wishes of Hudson Valley children who are suffering with life-threatening medical conditions. Since 1986, it has granted more than 2,000 wishes to Hudson Valley children. The organization is currently working on 160 wishes with the average cost of a wish ranging from $7,500 to $10,000.
Last year, Anthony was granted a $3,500 shopping spree at Palisades Mall in Rockland County. Make-A-Wish sent a limousine to pick up the family and also booked a hotel room for him, his mother, sister and brother, explains a press release from HGAR. The family were treated to dinner, then shopping the following day. With his prize Anthony bought a laptop, big flat screen TV and clothing.
Later, he received a trip to Louisiana a week before the Mardi Gras and nurses from Maria Fareri Westchester Children’s hospital were chaperones.
“He had the best time of his life,” said Christine Gordon. “Because a lot of these children spend months in the hospital, this is a huge deal for their mind and spirit to give them hope that they are getting better, that life can still be good and that people really care about them. I am so grateful for the support this wonderful organization gives to our children.”
Lauren Shields, the daughter of Jeanne Shields of Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty in New City, was also a “Wish” recipient receiving a room make-over to help ease her recovery.
Lauren, 13, had developed viral myocarditis and underwent a heart transplant at the age of 8. Following the March 2009 procedure, she had a stroke and entered a rehabilitation center in June. “Her goal was to be able to walk to school that September – which she did – and her wish was for a bedroom make-over,” added Jeanne Shields.
The new animal-themed room features zebra stripes on the wall, new furniture, a flat screen TV, and even some new clothes. ”I had so much fun working with my ‘wish angels’ on my room makeover,” said Lauren Shields. “Now every morning when I wake up, I think of them and I am so grateful.”
After her experience, Lauren actively campaigned for organ donor programs and helped to enact “Lauren’s Law.” This law makes it mandatory for New Yorkers to answer the question about organ donations on their driver’s license. In the past, drivers could ignore the question.
Last year, HGAR raised nearly $10,000 for Make-A- Wish® Hudson Valley.
Said Richard Haggerty, the CEO of HGAR: “This organization has been making a huge difference in the lives of these children for more than 25 years, and we are so pleased to be able to offer our help.”
The “Wish Upon a Star” Cocktail Party to benefit Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley is from 6 to 10 p.m., Sept. 19 at the Clubhouse at Patriot Hills in Stony Point. Tickets are $60 per person and include a two-hour open bar, three hot food stations, appetizers, passed hors d’oeuvres, coffee and dessert, plus a DJ and dancing. For information, go to Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors website.