Alumni Bios

Angela

My wish to go to Paris was granted in 2006. I now work in the Fashion industry.

Wish Alumni, Angela, In April, 2006 my wish was granted to go to Paris with my family.  It was the best experience of my life.  I was able to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and to see all the places I have dreamed of seeing.  I also wanted to be a fashion designer so that was also a big reason why I liked the trip so much.  It was amazing.  I was able to see a part of the world I had always wanted to see and it was with my family.  

I thank Make-A-Wish very much for the nicest thing they could have ever done and it inspired me to join the Alumni Committee and help other kids going through similar things. 

I recently graduated from Marist College and as you can guess, I majored in Fashion Design.  I also am an active volunteer in the American Cancer Society.

  • Wish Alumni, Angela, enjoying all the sights Paris offers including the Wallace fountains and the Eiffel Tower

  • Angela with her family

  • Angela with Van Gogh's self portrait

  • Angela with her family in front of the Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre)

  • Wish Alumni, Angela, enjoying all the sights Paris offers

  • Angela and her family visiting the Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum)

  • Wish Alumni, Angela, enjoying all the sights Paris offers

  • Angela and her family in front of the Arc de Triomphe

It was the best experience of my life.”

— Wish Alumni, Angela, "I wish to go to Paris, France"

Brian

My wish to meet Ozzy Osbourne was granted in 2003. I now work for Madison Square Garden as a Designer & Multimedia Programmer.

Wish Alumni, Brian, My wish was to meet Ozzy Osbourne. He is the reason that I first picked up the guitar and got involved with making music. When the annual summer tour, Ozzfest, came in 2003, I was delivered tickets by Make-A-Wish and told that I would get to go backstage and meet Ozzy in person. Naturally, I was excited to meet such an influential character in my life and also because this would be my first concert ever. 

On August 18, 2003, I was picked up at my house by limo and driven to the PNC Bank Arts Center to see the day long festival. I was overwhelmed with joy as I got to see some of my favorite bands take the stage. Just as the third band was taking the stage, I was called to come backstage, where I walked straight into Ozzy’s room. Words can’t express how it feels to come face to face with such a legendary figure in your life. We sat down and talked for a bit, took pictures, and got some autographs. 

Afterwards, I went back to my seat and saw the rest of the concert, which of course ended with a performance by Ozzy himself. This will forever be remembered as one of the greatest days of my life. I graduated from SUNY Binghamton as a studio art major and now work for Madison Square Garden as a Designer & Multimedia Programmer. I continue to paint and record music in my spare time. 

My wish was a huge part of my recovery process and battle with depression after my third heart surgery. Since then, Make-A-Wish has become an important part of my life and I’ve been able to get through high school and put my hardships behind me. 

  • Brian hanging out with Ozzy Osborne backstage

  • Ozzy meeting Brian and his family backstage

  • Ozzy horsing around with Brian

  • Brian hanging out with Ozzy Osborne backstage

My wish will forever be remembered as one of the greatest days of my life.”

— Wish Alumni, Brian, "I wish to meet Ozzy Osbourne"

Buddy

My wish to go to the MLB All-Star Game was granted in 1997. I now work for Make-A-Wish ® America in Corporate Alliances.

Wish Alumni, Buddy, In 1997, I had my wish granted to attend the MLB All Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio.  It was a life-changing experience that brought me hope during the toughest battle of my life and had a direct impact on my career and life choices as I got to see behind the scenes of the sports industry.  

I went on to study Sports and Entertainment Management at the University of South Carolina and work in the professional sports industry for a decade working for a host of organizations fulfilling a life-long dream of mine.  

When the opportunity then came to work at the National Office it was something that I jumped at as I know from firsthand experience how important our work is and the lives we touch.  I would not be where I am today without the support of my family, friends and Make-A-Wish.

I’ve been an active member of the Make-A-Wish Alumni Committee of the Hudson Valley for over 5 years and have participated in various activities throughout the year, including the Wish Ball and Donor Dinner.


  • Buddy, "I wish to go to the MLB All-Star Game"

  • Buddy at the Wish House during an Alumni Committee meeting

  • Buddy with his family at our Annual Wish Ball

I would not be where I am today without the support of my family, friends and Make-A-Wish.”

— Wish Alumni, Buddy

Donovan

My wish to be the Silver Ranger superhero was granted in 2007. I now volunteer my time as an Alumni Committee member.

Wish Alumni, Donovan, In 2007, my wish was granted to be the Silver Ranger and protect the Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley staff from evil villains who had invaded the Wish House. Read more about my wish here.  

A newscast was released asking if there was a Superhero that could help save the Wish House.  The Silver Ranger responded with the help of his fellow Power Rangers, and the Wish House was saved.  This wish was filmed and turned into a movie called "The Silver Ranger", starring Donovan Simpson.  This was my WISH!  

Upon completing this task of making a superhero movie, I realized that anything is possible.  I joined the Alumni Committee and have made a lot of friends.  Make-A-Wish continues to promote its mission of bringing hope, strength and joy to families in the Hudson Valley.  I am proud to be a part of this.

I am now attending Saunders Trades and Technical High School majoring in Graphic Communication.    I enjoy playing video games, watching TV, and hanging out with my friends.  

  • Donovan recently met the Green Ranger at Wizard World NYC Experience

  • Donovan with his crime fighting friends

  • Donovan being interviewed by a local TV Station about saving the Wish House from aliens

  • Donovan with his Ranger friends

  • Donovan with his family during the filming of his superhero movie

After my wish was granted, I realized that anything is possible.”

— Wish Alumni, Donovan

Katarina

My wish to go to Hawaii was granted in 2011. I aspire to be a nurse one day to help other kids that have gone through similar things like me

Wish Alumni, Katarina, Once I found out that I was going to have a wish granted, I knew I couldn't dwell on the past anymore, I needed to move forward. 

The wish was an amazing experience I went surfing, snorkeling and even had a helicopter ride where I got to see Jurassic Park and Gilligan’s Island. Make-A-Wish could not have made it any better - everything was perfect!  The best part of my wish was that I didn't think not once about my cardiac arrest and I didn't have to worry about doctors or hospitals. The wish showed me that when things are down, it will eventually get better – it gave me hope. 

Today I'm a senior in Yorktown High School and I aspire to become a Nurse so I can help other kids that have gone through similar things like me.  I am an active member in the Make-A-Wish Alumni Committee of the Hudson Valley and have participated in the Annual Walk & 5K Run for Wishes and have shared my story at the Annual Volunteer Luncheon.  


The wish showed me that when things are down, it will eventually get better – it gave me hope. ”

— Wish Alumni, Katarina, "I wish to go to Hawaii"

Kevin

My wish to go to Disney was granted in 1993. I now own a few business and love spending time with my family & friends.

Wish Alumni, Kevin, In 1993, my wish granted to go to Disney World - the royal treatment we received was AWESOME. 

After going through so much, it was great to spend time together doing something enjoyable. The wish was the PERFECT medicine for my family when we needed it the most - it changed our lives. 

I now own a few businesses and love spending time with my family & friends. I’m excited to help others the same way I was helped through my involvement in the Alumni Committee and volunteering my time with the chapter. 


  • Wish kid, Kevin and his family at Disney

  • Wish kid, Kevin and his brother with Eeyore at Disney

  • Wish kid, Kevin with Goofy at Disney

The wish was the PERFECT medicine for my family when we needed it the most - it changed our lives.”

— Wish Alumni, Kevin, "I wish to go to Disney"

Johanna

My wish to go to Disney World was granted in 2007. I now am married and aspire to be a social worker.

Wish Alumni, Johanna, In 2007, my wish was granted to go to Disney World with my family. It was an experience filled with fun, laughter and joy. Make-A-Wish and my family worked hard to coordinate the trip so that my older brother who is a Marine, could also be a part of my wish experience while he was home for a few days on leave.

A few years have passed since my wish was granted and even today when I look at pictures, I am overcome with emotions of joy and happiness.  The days we spent together were just unbelievable and magical. There are truly no words to describe all the emotions that this “magical experience” brought to me and my family. 

Today I attend Mercy College, with aspirations of becoming a Social Worker. I also was married on November 6, 2010 to John Tabares-Durango, who with his support and my family, there is no day that goes by that I don’t thank God for another day of life.

I am an active member in the Make-A-Wish Alumni Committee of the Hudson Valley and have participated in various activities throughout the year, including the Wish Ball, Walk for Wishes and Donor Dinner.

  • Johanna with her family at Universal Studios

  • Johanna enjoying the sights while on her wish

  • Wish Alumni, Johanna meeting Mickey & Minnie

  • Johanna with her family at Epcot

My wish was an experience filled with fun, laughter and joy.”

— Wish Alumni, Johanna, "I wish to go to Disney World"

Julian

In 2006, my wish was granted to go to Disney World. I now am a sophomore in high school and currently play for the nationally ranked football & basketball team.

Wish Alum, Julian, In 2006, my wish was granted to go to Disney World. Before my wish, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer with an unknown future ahead. 
 
The wish experience was beyond what I expected and I had an amazing time creating those memories with my family. It truly gave us a breath of fresh air and hope after such a difficult time in our lives. 
 
During and after treatment I realized that there are so many other kids like me that have gone through similar challenges. I felt lucky that I was doing well and was still able to do the things I love like play sports. 
 
Today, I am 15 years old; I am a sophomore at Don Bosco Prepatory High School in Ramsey, New Jersey. I currently play for their nationally ranked football team and also play basketball for the school while maintaining an above average GPA. This year I got 2013 defensive MVP award at the North New Jersey Football Combine and continue to be an active member of the Amateur Athletic Union for basketball through Team Blaze NYC. 
 
I am excited to join the Alumni Committee and "give back" what I received. I hope I can be an example to other kids and show them that they too can beat cancer and come back strong!
  • Julian and his brother with Mickey Mouse in Disney

  • Julian with his wish granter Anthony Giudice

  • Julian with his brother in 2006

  • Julian opening some wish enhancements

I hope I can be an example to other kids and show them that they too can beat cancer and come back strong!”

— Wish Alumni, Julian, "I wish to go to Disney"

Shawna

My wish to meet Britney Spears was granted in 2001. I now host my own radio show on WTBQ in Orange County.

ShawnaIn November of 2001, I received my wish to meet Britney Spears. It was one of the best days of my life. My day started with a limo ride down to the concert. Going to her sound check party, and having my wish be filmed by HBO. My wish didn't just include meeting her; I was able to attend her concert and the following day I spent touring New York City in a limo and having dinner at the Hard Rock Café. 

Many people ask me if I would meet her again, and I say absolutely! Britney was really nice and down to earth. A few weeks after my wish, HBO showed a clip of my wish on Britney's TV special “Live in Las Vegas." So, not only did I receive the wish, but my family and friends were able to share the special moment with me. 

Since my wish I have graduated from high school, I worked part time as a receptionist, and was the manager/co-host of a radio show, Teen Talk on WTBQ. Because of the success of Teen Talk, the owner of WTBQ was asked if I would like to create my own show. In January of 2009, "Spotlight" debuted with me as the host. 

I joined the Make-A-Wish Alumni Committee to give back, and to make a difference in other children's life. One of the most memorable moments from being on the Alumni Committee was being part of a wish. A couple other alumni and I were security guards for another child's wish which was to star in his own movie. Seeing the smile on his face when he arrived at his movie premiere and seeing all his family, friends, classmates and Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff was just indescribable.

  • Shawna meeting Brittney Spears

Many people ask me if I would meet her again, and I say absolutely!”

— Wish Alumni, Shawna, "I wish to meet Britney Spears"

Share Your Wish Story

If you received a wish from Make-A-Wish®, or helped grant a kid's wish, or just have a great story to tell about a Make-A-Wish experience, please share that story here. Tell us how it impacted you and feel free to upload any related photos or artwork. 

We highlight as many of the great wish stories that we can; however, due to the high volume of stories submitted, we cannot guarantee that your story will be selected. 

We are proud to showcase authentic voices and stories of wish experiences. We only make minor edits when required for spelling, brand name and trademark accuracy, protection of wish kid and family privacy, and some celebrity and corporate sponsor references. 

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The Wish House
Serving the New York Counties of Delaware, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester

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Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley
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The Wish House
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