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Wish Blog

Nov 06, 2019

Chairman Stephen Thomas: "We can all make a difference."

Stephen Thomas
Stephen Thomas (far right), Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York Board Chair, reflects on the impact of his brother's wish.

Q. What were your brother’s health challenges? 

A. "Matthew had severe hemophilia, so he had a constant stream of health challenges and requirements. He would get daily clotting factor therapy and at times, he needed to stay in the hospital and was generally more limited in activities. He was an incredibly positive person despite these difficulties and focused on what he could do. My parents were great in helping him do that."

Q. What was his wish?

A. "His wish was to play golf with Ben Crenshaw, a famous professional golfer from Texas. My brother’s greatest passion in life was golf, and his wish to play with Ben at the Byron Nelson Classic golf tournament was a fantastic day for him. He also got to meet many of the other players – Ben took him through the locker room and introduced Matt to many of his friends – who were all top players on the tour."

Q. How does the wish stay with you?

A. "I think that the wish does a couple of things: one, it’s great to remember some of the wonderful times that we shared as a family and that my brother and I had together. The wish is a poignant example of one of those times that we were all doing something that he was very passionate about. The second way is that it shows the impact of a specific moment in life and the generosity of people can have over a long period of time. That stays with me and I want to be able to give back to families like ours."

Q. What was it like for him to hear that he was getting his wish? 

A. "He was absolutely thrilled. He was going through a lot of health challenges at the time and it undeniably lifted his spirits. The whole family rallied around and enjoyed that special time. This was such a tangible thing for him to focus on."

Q. Any message to our generous donors?

A. "Thanks so much from all of us! And most importantly from the children that benefit so greatly from your generosity. I can promise that all you do for this organization makes a profound difference for kids and their families. Seeing people who are really passionate about fulfilling the mission is incredibly energizing and a reminder that we can all make a difference."

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Stories of joy, resilience and healing that can only happen with Make-A-Wish.

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