Hobart and William Smith Colleges are the first colleges in New York State to grant an entire wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western New York.
August 6, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Fifteen-year-old Kristopher has been talking this summer about his Walt Disney World vacation in Florida that was granted by students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges who are members of the campus Make-A-Wish club. Kristopher (last name omitted for privacy) will meet one of those students later this month at a Make-A-Wish picnic held near Buffalo.
Kristopher has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle-destroying condition that has bound him to a wheelchair for the past several years. For boys, Duchenne’s MD usually confines them to a wheelchair by the age of 12 and rarely do they live past age 20.
Two years ago, students in the Make-A-Wish club of Hobart and William Smith began raising funds to grant a wish for someone. Through a series of fundraisers including a Kiss the Pig contest, dunking booths, selling teddy bears, a concert, and more the group raised nearly $5,000—enough to grant a wish.
Caroline Miller, of Syracuse, who graduated this spring, began the effort as a junior. She said a few times along the way the group considered just sending in the funds they raised to grant part of a wish but that they really wanted to do it on their own.
“I really wanted to fulfill someone’s wish,” Miller says. “I liked knowing that we were working on finding money so that someone who doesn’t have many choices can have anything he wants for at least one day.”
Miller, an environmental studies major, volunteered this summer at the Make-A-Wish office in Buffalo. She will be attending graduate school at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.
Christine Wallace, coordinator of volunteer services and event manager of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western New York, says she enjoyed working with the students of Hobart and William Smith and looks forward to continue working with them.
“This is the first time a college has solely sponsored a wish,” Wallace says. “I enjoyed being a part of making that happen. All of our lives have been enriched due to their efforts.”
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Click here for a high-resolution group photo.