Health & Wellness

Make-A-Wish Hopes to Grant More Wishes than Ever

850a7493353f1e6a30eb_Make_A_Wish_Castle.jpg
Make-A-Wish Castle Credits: Patricia Feeney
5d8d48c6a1f1f96fdd75_Make-A-Wish_Castle_entrance_Bri.jpeg
Feeney Family Entering the Castle Credits: Courtesy of Make-A-Wish
61a9e0704d0580fa3b7a_Make_A_Wish_Health_Professionals.jpeg
7e24d9db0c09730d0f5e_Make_a_Wish_Med_Professionals.jpeg
2c7a3042b12310978d74_Make_a_Wish_Bri_smiling.jpeg
01420dd3fc949f1e2161_Make_A_Wish_guitar.jpg
850a7493353f1e6a30eb_Make_A_Wish_Castle.jpg

MONROE, NJ  - The Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place Castle in Monroe Township lit up the night sky the evening of November 5th. The New Jersey chapter of Make-A-Wish unveiled a new initiative to encourage local medical professionals to prescribe Make-A-Wish to every eligible child in New Jersey. The Every Eligible Child Initiative is part of Make-A-Wish America’s plan to grant wishes to more children than ever.

Last year, domestic chapters of Make-A-Wish granted 14,799 wishes nation-wide, with hopes to grant a total of 17,000 wishes nation-wide by the year 2020. In New Jersey alone, 450 unique and special wishes were granted in 2015; the second highest amount of wishes granted in their 32 year history. Those wishes included animal companions, celebrity experiences, international travel, Disney World experiences, cruises, birthday parties, play sets, room makeovers, shopping sprees, computers, and much more.

Stacy Kreizman, Senior Director of Outreach and Mission Delivery, said, “For Make-A-Wish chapters across the country, especially here in New Jersey, it’s becoming increasingly more evident to us that the medical community is as crucial a part of our ability to reach our goals, as our chapter staff, volunteers and donors. That being said, if Make-A-Wish America is going to reach 17,000 wishes by the year 2020, we need to change the way we reach patients like we never have before.”

Sign Up for E-News

Many local hospitals have already been making the Every Eligible Child Initiative a priority for their staff. Morristown Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center received awards for being Make-A-Wish New Jersey’s Top Referring Hospitals in 2015. In addition, St. Peter’s University Hospital also received a special recognition award for reaching 100 referrals in 5 years.

Dr. Carlos Lastra, Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Epilepsy at St. Peter’s University Hospital said, “I would like to thank everybody and anybody who participates in Make-A-Wish. One grain of sand doesn’t do anything, many grains of sand, many bricks helped to build this castle. And this Castle fulfills the wishes of many children.”

In December of 2011, thanks to the generosity of a caring community of New Jerseyans and spear-headed by a $3 million gift from Joe Plumeri, then Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, Make-A-Wish New Jersey built The Samuel and Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place. The only one of its kind, the Wishing Place provides an environment that is free of limitations, confinement, and stress. It stimulates the imagination and reveals to seriously-ill children the imaginative possibilities of a wish. And every night the Wishing Place lights up, casting abeautiful glow into the night sky to symbolize the beacon of hope that these wishes become.

On the evening of November 5th, the Make-A-Wish Castle was a bright beacon of hope and, inside, staff members gave tours of The Wishing Place. Pat Zagnit stood in the “Inspiration Room,” painted by local artists with wish ideas, where children can sit and think about what wish they would like to make.  Zagnit said of her years on the Make-A-Wish staff, “It’s the best job I’ve ever had because it’s always with the child in mind. It’s so special for children and the families to have a very special wish and we take it very seriously.”

Among those attending the dinner were several volunteers who give of their time for the cause.  Volunteer photographer, Christina Smith, said, “I document a child's journey through some of the darkest times in their lives, as well as photographing the happiest times when they are granted their wish and get to fulfill it. The moment their wish is granted, their attitudes and moods transition into happiness and they forget they are sick. I get to photograph the transition as it is happening. Their laughter and their smiles make your heart melt.”

One parent of four, who has two children with Cystic Fibrosis, said, “Cystic Fibrosis is something our whole family deals with every day. It was great for my wife and I and all the kids to have such a great time on this vacation and just be kids again.” Make-A-Wish New Jersey granted a wish for both children; the family went to Disney to meet Pluto for their younger child and, several years later, went to Hawaii for their older child to learn how to surf. The father added that for each trip, “They were just kids for the whole week and there were no worries with what we did. It was just fun and more fun.”

Photographer Smith added, “They might not ask for a trip to Disney World or Australia but it could be a simple birthday party with bubbles or pirates or face painting. The children and their families come back mentally and physically healthier. Any wish granted is a time when all the pain of the daily grind of a child's health issues disappears. The families get to forget about doctors and needles and appointments and medicines. They laugh and smile and feel whole again. Nothing can replace how I feel to get to be a part of those memories. Everybodywins when a wish is granted by Make-A-Wish.”

Kreizman closed the event saying, “We all have come together to share our special mission for something that is so much bigger then ourselves, a mission that’s resonated with some of you for many years.” Kreizman asked the doctors and medical professionals in the room, “Prescribe Make-A-Wish to your patients because sometimes, as you know, a wish is the most powerful medicine there is.”

The evening ended with a 15-year-old wish recipient taking up his guitar to sing “Gravity.” The words washed over the crowd, “Gravity is working against me. And gravity wants to bring me down. I’ll never know what makes this man with all the love that is in his heart can stand.” And as the last words of his song echoed through the Make-A-Wish Castle that night,“Just keep me where the light is. Just keep me where the light is…” There was not a dry eye in the house.  In the darkest moments for children who are struggling with life threatening illnesses and their families, Make-A-Wish strives to be that light, a symbol of hope, strength and joy.

 

Editor’s Note: South Plainfield Resident Patricia Feeney and her family participated in the Make-A-Wish program this year; they were granted their wish to visit family in Colorado. Patricia Feeney also attended this event on November 5th.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Alejandro Garcia Boys’ Spring Track

The South Plainfield Boys’ Spring Track has continued to be one of the most successful programs for the Spring Athletic Season.  The Boys’ have been dominate in the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division for the last few years.  After being decimated by graduation, the Tigers were not sure what the season would hold.  South Plainfield once again won the Blue ...

The Athlete of the Week Christopher Shine Baseball

The South Plainfield High School baseball team is continuing to have a successful 2018 season with a record of 15-9. This past week, the Tigers went 4-0 beating out of conference foes North Hunterdon, Montgomery, and Bernards.  They finished the week with a win in the first round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, over Carteret.   A major contributor to South ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Dorothy Rotola, 91, passed away Thursday, May 24, 2018 in Ashbrook Nursing ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Tree Olano Says "Thank You"

May 23, 2018

The infamous “Senior Gardens” is a huge part of the senior center .  The vegetables are all planted and ready for a fruitful harvest!

I wanted to extend a “thank you” the following people who made this happen:

The  Department of Public Works – Kristina Nieradka for taking my many calls with kindness and professionalism; Donna Zereconski, ...

Middlesex County College Graduates 1480 Students May 17

May 22, 2018

EDISON, NJ - A total of 1514 degrees and certificates were awarded to 1480 students by Middlesex County College Thursday, May 17 at the 51st annual Commencement exercises witnessed by approximately 3500 guests at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Valedictorian Sindhu Murthy (Highland Park) delivered the class welcome, sharing her experiences and aspirations. Ms. Murthy, who graduated in January and ...

Community Happenings

JOHN E. RILEY’S 1ST ANNUAL FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL

May 12, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 11AM to 5PM, the John E. Riley PTSO (JER PTSO) will be hosting its first ever Food Truck Festival!

 

Come out for a good time while supporting a good cause! Proceeds from this event will go to replacing the 2 broken playground structures at John E. Riley Elementary School costing approximately $80,000. 11+ food trucks including ...

Holy Savior Academy to Hold 7th Annual 5K Run & Family Walk in June

May 26, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Calling all runners and walkers! Holy Savior Academy will hold its 7th Annual 5K Run and 1 Mile Family Walk on Saturday, June 2. Proceeds from this year’s family-friendly event will benefit the school’s academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs.

“Holy Savior Academy’s annual 5K offers the school an opportunity to provide other ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Memorial Day Services ­Announced

May 22, 2018

The South Plainfield Memorial Day Services, hosted by the American Legion Post #243  and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post #6763  will be held on Monday, May 28.  It will commence at the American Legion Post 243 at 9:00 a.m.  The procession will start with the tradition of wreath laying  at 10 a.m. in Monument Park.( Attendees may park in Veterans Memorial ...

Road Projects - Closures

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -  Road resurfacing continues on Joan Street between South Plainfield Avenue and Maple Avenue plus Michael Street.  Roadways are closed to local traffic only.  This information was sent via Nixle Alert.

Staying Fit at the Senior Center

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Staying fit and getting plenty of good exercise is a high priority at the South Plainfield Senior Center, located at 90 Maple Avenue in South Plainfield. Classes on health issues and a wide range of physical exercise are available almost daily.

The Walking Group meets every Friday, weather permitting, starting on May 18 and going through October. Participants meet at the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7a110ba1b1a66408e129_mini_magick20180522-67475-1v887d3

Mon, May 28, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Memorial Day Services ­Announced

Wed, May 30, 6:00 PM

South Plainfield Public Library, South Plainfield

Town-Wide Girl Scout Registration

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy 5K and Family Fun Walk

Health & Wellness

Columns

Diegnan & Ruiz Bill to Establish Grant Program to Develop Dual Language Immersion Programs Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz to establish a grant program for school districts and charter schools to develop dual language immersion programs was released from the Senate Education Committee today.

 

“The best way for a student to excel in a foreign language is an immersion program,” said ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

Bookmarks

The South Plainfield Public Library will be closed this Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 due to Memorial Day.  Because of the holiday, there will be no movie showing this week on Monday evening or Wednesday afternoon.  Monday Night Movies will resume the week of June 4, with a newly released selection.

This Saturday, May 26, the library is hosting a Mario Kart Tournament: Blindfold ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Welcomes You

The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield is welcoming new members. Enjoy creative fund raisers, interesting activities while participating on standing committees, informative monthly programs, and the camaraderie of women whose efforts enhance the community. The club meets at 1:00 PM on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at the American ...

Press Releases

South Plainfield’s Gillen Named Third Team All-American

May 26, 2018

GLENSIDE, Pa – Junior Bryan Gillen was named Third Team All-America by D3baseball.com, becoming the first All-America recipient in program history, the organization announced Wednesday. To be eligible, a player must have made the D3baseball.com All-Region Team, which Gillen earned First Team honors.
 
Gillen, who was named MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year and earned ...