Patricia Clemency, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish of Metro New York, said that she is thrilled to be able to make so many wishes come true locally. “We’re just honored that, for whatever reason, the Elmont and Franklin Square communities are finding us so we can help,” Clemency told the Herald. “It’s interesting: The wishes are always very varied. If you look at those 26 wishes, 20 involved travel. But each one [was] tailored toward the likes and interests of each child.”
Clemency recalled the story of a 9-year-old Franklin Square child named Daria, who also went on a Disney cruise. “One of the things the family talked about,” Clemency said, “was that even as the wish was about to begin, it felt like the illness was becoming like a faint memory, because the focus could be on thinking about and planning for the trip. She was just so happy and smiling [on the cruise] because she was given so much special attention. Think about how different that is for a child who feels like there’s no control at the hospital.”
These days, Williams is dedicated to living each day for her son, who will begin fifth grade in September, and helping him cope with the disease. She takes a holistic approach, helping prepare CJ for seasonal changes, because his illness can cause severe pain when he is exposed to extreme heat or cold. He does not understand that he has an illness and has limited language ability, though he is able to communicate with his mother. Though he is now healing from a recent stroke, he will no doubt remember his special cruise as a dream — a wish — come true.