LAKE PLACID – Eight-year-old Tiago Cusano of Miami, Florida, has never seen snow. That will change, however, after Tiago got a phone call from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Continuing the story, the native Floridian had developed a fascination for bobsledding while watching the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics during an extended hospitalization for cancer treatment. When Tiago was notified that he was eligible for a wish by the Make-A- Wish® Southern Florida Chapter, the work began to determine what he wanted to do more than anything.
Through the efforts of the Miami-based wish professionals, working in conjunction with Make- A-Wish® Northeast New York, Tiago is getting his wish from Feb. 15-20 as he travels with his family to Lake Placid, New York. During his six-day stay, the wish kid will stay in the famous Mirror Lake Inn; attend the World Cup 4-Man bobsled and skeleton competitions with members of the U.S. Bobsled Team; tour the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the U.S. Bobsled and Luge Training Facilities, and the Intervale Ski Jumps; take a snowboard lesson at Whiteface Mountain; see the sites of the Olympic village; and, most importantly, ride in a bobsled.
Wishes like Tiago’s are the work of the 60 chapters of the Make-A-Wish® America organization. Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish America and its associate chapters strive to grant the heartfelt wishes of children, ages 2 ½ to 18, with critical medical conditions. It is the belief of Make-A- Wish that the fulfillment of a wish contributes to the hope, strength and joy experienced by the child, potentially contributing to the healing process.
“We are thrilled to have been asked by our colleagues in Southern Florida to assist with this wish,” stated William C. Trigg, III, chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. “Wishes like this are not without their complexity. In that regard, we would like to express our profound thanks to our partners from the Mirror Lake Inn (and particularly our trustee, double Olympic ski medalist Andrew Weibrecht, whose family owns the Inn), the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, Whiteface Mountain, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, the U.S. Luge Association, and Mr. Mike’s Pizza. Through their generosity and support, Tiago and his family will have an experience of Olympic proportion.”
“Tiago’s experience this week is proof positive that wishes really do come true,” Make-A-Wish Southern Florida President & CEO Norm Wedderburn said. “Thanks to everyone who has contributed, this 8-year-old’s simple dream to go bobsledding is taking on a life of its own. We thank all of the generous folks for their passion in making Tiago’s wish a reality.”
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with critical medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Make-A-Wish Northeast New York serves the 15 counties comprising the 518 and 838 area codes. The chapter grants 90-100 wishes each year and has granted more than 1,800 wishes since 1987. For more information about Make-A-Wish, visit www.neny.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.
(Text courtesy Make-A-Wish Foundation, Photos courtesy ORDA)