Q: A mother never aspires to have the title of Wish Mom. Tell us more about the journey that brought you here?
A: I have four children, Steven is the youngest. He was 10 years old when he came home from school complaining of a stomach ache. From there, his illness escalated very quickly, and he went from a talkative, energetic child to barely speaking. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and seemingly overnight, doctors told us that Steven had hours to live. We kept hope alive and seven years later, while Steven still battles the disease daily, he is as happy and talkative as ever.
Q: Seven years ago, this month, Steven’s wish to attend New York Yankees Spring Training was granted. How did his wish impact you and your family?
A: Steven’s illness took a large toll on our family’s finances. My car had just been totaled in a bad accident and we had no means to buy a new one. Upon arriving in Florida for Steven’s wish, Make-A-Wish had arranged for a minivan rental. For the first time since Steven’s diagnosis, our entire family was in a car together. It was the first moment that life felt normal, again. We sang to Billie Jean and the kids even chose to eat Sonic in the car, instead of eating outside in the beautiful Florida weather. We realized that we had missed such a normal moment of life. It was in that moment that we began to heal.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved with the Women’s Council?
A: The mission of the Women’s Council is to grant wishes and raise funds. I believed my involvement would be a way to create greater impact. I love being a part of a group of women that are naturally doers, supported by a structure that supports fundraising. I am empowered to help other mothers receive the same impact of a wish as my family received.
Q: What is your advice for women thinking about getting involved in helping wish kids?
A: Just do it! As much as you are helping to change a child’s life, you can’t help but be changed, as well.
For more information about donating to Make-A-Wish Metro New York or the Women’s Council, please contact Elizabeth Merkouris at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about volunteering, please contact Kelsey Bienkowski at email@example.com.