Make A Wish

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The Make A Wish Foundation is one incredibly quality organization. In fact, I heard yet another awesome, tear jerking PSA yesterday for:

www.Wish.org

This story from Carson’s alma mater, The Seeing Eye, Inc. shows how Make A Wish took the desires of a little girl and helped her to help others. Enjoy!

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St. Patrick’s Day was a very special day here at The Seeing Eye. The newspaper article pasted below tells the story of how a little girl named Maggie Deely visited our school on Monday, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Any day now, the “M” litter of Seeing Eye pups is due to be born, and one of those Labrador puppies will be named “Maggie” in honor of our special visitor.Ailing girl’s dream: To provide comfort to othersby Robert E. Williams III, the Newark Star Ledger, Tuesday, March 18, 2008Maggie Deely raised her arm slightly in the air at the Seeing Eye kennels in Morris Township, as she commanded a black Labrador retriever named Homer to sit.After the dog followed the 9-year-old’s first command, the Centreville, Va., resident pointed her finger to the ground and commanded the dog to lay. Homer obliged.

“Hey, I think we got a trainer,” said specialized dog instructor Kris Sutton to Maggie and her family during their tour of the Seeing Eye in Morris Township, a nonprofit organization that trains dogs to assist blind people. Maggie’s visit to the facility was part of a trip coordinated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that coordinates the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Maggie arrived at the facility Monday dressed for St. Patrick’s Day — dressed all in green with green Mardi Gras beads around her neck, a crown decorated with green and silver tinsel on her head, and a green shirt that read, “Everybody loves an Irish girl.”

It was shortly before St. Patrick’s Day last year when Maggie was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, an illness causing a brain tumor that affects the pituitary gland and its functions. Maggie was treated at Children’s Hospital Boston, where pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Scott in April removed a portion of the tumor that was as big as two thumbs laid side by side. After the surgery, her doctor used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor the growth of the remaining portion of the tumor. Maggie also meets with an endocrinologist to manage the impact of the tumor on her pituitary gland, which influences her growth and hormonal development. Maggie told the foundation about her wish to explore a career working with animals after she observed her third-grade class president with a companion dog named Mercer, a black Labrador retriever. “I thought it would be lots of fun, and it was,” said Maggie, who wore a Make-A-Wish Foundation button on her shirt.

The foundation has become well-known for arranging high-profile experiences for children. Some wishes involved meeting a celebrity, going to a hard-to-access sporting event or undergoing an experience related to a child’s interest. Teresa Davenport, a spokeswoman for the Seeing Eye, said visits to the facility as part of a wish are rare. “Instead of going to Disneyland, she wanted to do this,” said her father, Tim Deely, who accompanied his daughter and rest of his family along South Street during Maggie’s training yesterday. “She surprises us all the time.” Maggie and her family — including her mother Cathy, her sister, 13-year-old Brigid, and brothers Brian, 12, and Kevin, 11 — took a train from their home in Virginia on Sunday. They ate lunch at the Seeing Eye and toured the kennels where German shepherds and retrievers played with trainers as the family looked on.

The family was later escorted by van to the statue of Seeing Eye dog founder Morris Frank and a Seeing Eye dog at the Green across the street from the Century 21 department store, where they met with trainer Jim Kessler and his dog, Vixen. After some instruction, Maggie grabbed the reins of the yellow Labrador retriever and worked with Kessler, teaching the dog to signal when it was okay to move forward.

Maggie may be young, but she’s no rookie when it comes to training dogs. This summer, she began training a mixed Labrador puppy named Gillian for Canine Companions for Independence, a Long Island-based organization that trains dogs to assist people with disabilities. “I like it because some day it will pay off and she will do a really good job, and make someone happy,” said Maggie of her experience training Gillian.

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