It all began with a strong, positive mission. From that purpose grew one of the most influential foundations in the country, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For local residents, The Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey is based out of Monroe Township, Middlesex County. The charity organization grants life-changing wishes to countless children battling critical illnesses across the state. So far, they have granted over 10,000 wishes and counting.
The NJ chapter of Make-A-Wish has been around for more than 35 years. To commemorate the organization’s special 10,000th wish, President and CEO Tom Weatherall spoke to Steve Adubato. Also joining Weatherall for this episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato is NJ “wish mom” Emily Pedersen. The trio discuss the impact Make-A-Wish has on the lives of many families. Of course, Pedersen also spoke about her daughter, the recipient of the organization’s 10,000th wish.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey Celebrates Granting 10,000th Wish
Pedersen’s youngest daughter Klara suffers from a rare muscular disease, RYR1-related myopathy. Because of her ailment, she cannot stand and uses a wheelchair. After selecting Klara for their 10,000th wish, Make-A-Wish invited her to the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place; a 20,000-square-foot wish-granting castle.
“[Our family] went to the castle for a ‘picnic,’” Pedersen says, as part of a plan to surprise her daughter. “So we went, and we got a tour of the castle, and when we came downstairs… there were, what, a hundred people?”
“We had over a hundred people hiding in the castle for Klara,” Weatherall adds.
During her surprise, Klara was given an action track chair, or “a wheelchair on steroids,” as Weatherall enthusiastically describes. With it, she can play with her older sister, Lily, and her family and friends on all types of terrain.
Want to learn hear Klara’s story, and more about The Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey’s 10,000th wish celebration? Then check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.
After that, click here for more stories that impact New Jersey residents.