Student club raises money, grants wish for local child



MICHAEL BAUMHARDT, Sam Grimaldi and Jake Kanavy pose with the money they collected at a “jail and bail” fundraiser. The club raised nearly $3,000 last year for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A Scranton child took a dream trip to Disney World thanks to the efforts of a campus group and the generosity of The University community

Wishmakers on Campus, a group that formed last year, raised $2,924.09 through various fundraisers in the 2012-2013 school year. Members learned over the summer that the national Make-A-Wish Foundation used their funds to send Christian, a 6-year-old boy from Scranton, and his family to Disney World, according to junior Christine Panzitta, the president of the group.

Panzitta said the group does not know much about the family but did receive a letter from Make-A-Wish informing them that Christian had a wonderful trip to Disney World. He and his family stayed at Give Kids the World Village, a resort in Orlando affiliated with the foundation. The resort caters to children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families.

Make-A-Wish fulfills the dreams of children with life-threatening conditions in various ways. The foundation receives referrals and then grants wishes by buying gifts, arranging visits with famous people and paying for trips.

The Wishmakers raised the money throughout the year with a bake sale, a “jail and bail” event, a donation website and table sits. They fell short of their goal of $4,000, the typical cost for Make-A-Wish to send a family to go to Disney World, but were ecstatic to find out they still made a trip possible, Panzitta said.

The group has set a goal of $4,000 again this year, but the members do not yet know how Make-A-Wish will spend the money, and they will not have a say, Panzitta said. Panzitta and her colleagues in the group are hoping to do “bigger and better” events this year and they will try to raise enough to grant more than one wish next summer.
Adviser Shannon Murphy Fennie said she is proud of the group’s dedication to the cause and hopes it can raise even more money this year.

“This family has been through so much and it is wonderful to know that for a short time they were able to forget their struggles and enjoy time together as a family. To know that we had a part in making that happen for the family is humbling,” adviser Shannon Murphy Fennie said in an email.

Pamzitta also said the idea of creating opportunities to live their dreams inspires her.

“The idea of granting someone’s wish — that’s so empowering, that’s so special, that’s such a great gift that you can give someone.”

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