18-year-old Andrew Waldron opens presents from Make-A-Wish during a gift ceremony at Melissa Penfield Park on April 29. He received top-of-the-line, professional photography equipment through Make-A-Wish on April 29 at Melissa Penfield Park.
A local teen received the ultimate set of equipment to prepare him for his dream job as a photographer through the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Andrew Waldron’s wish for photography gear was granted on World Wish Day April 29. Make-A-Wish of Northeast New York gave Andrew, 18, professional-quality camera equipment for use in college next fall, where he will be studying photojournalism.
“He knew we were going to get him a camera but I don’t think he knew we would be getting him all the equipment a professional would have,” said Tim Riley, manager of communications for Make-A-Wish of Northeast New York.
Waldron said he was really excited after opening multiple boxes at a special “gift giving” ceremony at Melissa Penfield Park.
Waldron received a Nikon camera, books, multiple lenses and flashes to go with his new camera, a new camera bag and an opportunity to go with a local newspaper photographer for the day and see how they do their job.
“He had actually considered several wishes before choosing the photography gear,” Riley said.
The volunteer “Wish Givers” Renee Elsinger, Lisa LaPort and Kayla LaPort helped him pick between a trip to Japan or an open-ended flight to anywhere. “Wish Givers” work with kids and teenagers to find a heartfelt wish that will give the most joy for the recipient.
Riley said Waldron worked with the wish givers and came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was photography equipment.
“This is a creative wish that will help you get creative,” said Riley.
Waldron became involved with the program last year after he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body.
“I guess I’ve had it since birth but I was diagnosed three years ago,” said Waldron. “I had gotten an infection and started throwing up a lot of mucus and went to the doctors and that’s when they told me.”
“It makes me a bit winded sometimes and I have to take a couple medications,” said Waldron.
Waldron is a senior at Plattsburgh High School and though he’s not sure where he wants to study photojournalism he is going to be prepared. Waldron said for anyone out there who is diagnosed with the disease they should “expect a lot of treatments but in the end it’s worth it because you’ll feel better.”
Many younger children choose a wish like going to Disney Land. Others wish to meet a celebrity or professional athlete and last year a young girl was sent to the Olympics in London. Elsinger said the Northeast chapter has also helped welcome wishers from other parts of the country who wanted to see snow for the first time.
Riley said Andrew’s choice was unique and especially fun for him to shop for.
“I was journalist and a photographer in the Ohio years ago so it was great to do the shopping here to set Andrew up for his potential career,” said Riley.
Riley said the Northeast chapter of Make-A-Wish grants at least 100 wishes during the year and covers from the outskirts of the Catskills to the Canadian Border.
“We grant 100 wishes but worldwide we can say a wish is granted every 40 minutes and at anytime there is someone living their wish either on a trip or meeting a celebrity they chose,” said Riley.
World Wish Day is celebrated each year in April, marking the anniversary more than 30 years in the making: in 1980, a 7-year-old boy received his heartfelt wish to be a police officer for a day. That one wish inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish and launched the wish granting movement that circles the globe today.
Riley said he has been in contact with the mother of the very first wish child and to this day she and her family remember the occasion with the same excitement they experienced 30 years ago.
For more information about Make-A-Wish contact Riley at 782-HOPE.