Drs. Craig and Laura Albanese are a remarkable couple. Married for nearly three decades, both are accomplished clinicians in their fields. Through their extensive work at pediatric hospitals across the country, they have seen the impact wishes can have for children and their families first hand. Despite their busy schedules, they are both personally involved in making wishes come true – by donating both their time and money – because they believe the Make-A-Wish mission is a smart investment.
Laura and Craig first met as medical students at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and married after a long “When Harry Met Sally” friendship. They left NYC soon after to start their family in Pittsburgh before moving to the Bay Area where they would reside for the next 20+ years with their two daughters, Sammy and Melanie.
While practicing in California, they frequently encountered Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff. Laura, a pediatric anesthesiologist, would often see critically-ill children and their families many times over the course of their treatment and was consistently amazed by how the wish changed the child’s perspective and how it helped to strengthen the bonds of the doctor patient relationship.
It wasn’t until the Albaneses moved back to NYC in 2017, however, that Laura began volunteering and helping to grant wishes. Because of her background as a physician she is in a unique position to work with kids and families facing particularly difficult battles. “She is the right person for the job because she is emotionally equipped to support a family through a traumatic time” says Erica Sandoval, Director, Medical, Volunteer and Community Engagement. Last year, Laura also joined our Medical Advisory Council.
Craig, who has transitioned from being a pediatric surgeon to hospital leadership, is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. With Craig’s help, our chapter was able to facilitate our first ever wish “reveal” at a hospital. Wish kid Samantha Ortiz thought she was at the hospital to perform with her friends from the Wingspan Arts Summer Conservatory but instead, she was surprised with the announcement that her wish to go on Disney Cruise was coming true in just a few days. Craig helped bring together over 100 people to make this celebration special for Samantha and her family.
In addition to offering their professional expertise, and countless volunteer hours, Laura and Craig consistently contribute financially to Make-A-Wish. The motivation for their philanthropy is partly borne of their desire to be a role model for other medical professionals. They have been on the front lines and understand the impact of a wish in a real, hands-on, tangible way, which is why they consider donating as investing in the long-term mission of the organization rather than a ‘gift’.
“They are extraordinary people with big hearts. We are so thankful for their unwavering generosity that is making wishes come true every single day,” says Director of Philanthropy, Lee Gullie.
If you would like more information on how to donate or volunteer, visit https://metrony.wish.org/ways-to-help
or contact our office at 646-588-5613.