Make-A-Wish NJ Granting Wishes to Sick Kids for 35 Years
Steve Adubato speaks with Tom Weatherall, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, about the organizations’ 35 year run of granting wishes to children. Steve also speaks with Ava Covington, a Make-A-Wish New Jersey Wish Kid, who refused to let her diagnosis stand in the way of her musical dreams.
"Welcome to One on One. One on two, this case. We open up with our good friend, Tom Weatherall. This is his fifth appearance here on One on One, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish New Jersey, and for the first time, it will not be the last, a very talented young lady, she is Ava Covington, a Make-A-Wish New Jersey wish kid. How you guys doing? Pretty good. By the way, let everyone know what a wish kid is. A wish kid is a kid who's fortunate enough to receive a wish from the Make-A-Wish organization from their chapter in their state. And Make-A-Wish New Jersey celebrating what anniversary? Coming up on our 35th in 2018, Steve. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Tell everyone what Make-A-Wish is. Yeah, we don't want to take it for granted, right? It's really a seemingly simple mission. But as you know, Steve, you're such a dear friend and been a dear friend for a long time, we're an oh so powerful mission. We're summed up in one sentence, our mission statement. We grant wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. These three trigger words that bring our mission to life. As the medical community knows, as wish children and their families know, Steve, it's come to be a part of essentially treatment plans for the medical community in helping their patients. Ava, what was your wish? My wish was for a Luis and Clark carbon fiber cello. Back up. [laughter] You grew up where? I grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Okay. Love music? Absolutely love it. Always? Of course. What did you face in terms of your medical situation? So I was born with a heart defect called left anomalous coronary of the right valsalva, and pretty much what that means is one of my arteries takes a complicated route to the heart, which pinches another artery, so that causes the oxygen to now flow as well to the heart, and that can be really bad, and the worst case scenario, causing cardiac arrest or even death. And you wish was for this cello? Mm hmm. We're gonna listen to you in the background. Talk to us about what you love about the cello. The cello, first of all, was just a beautiful instrument aesthetically. It's just beautiful. Wow. Like either it's an acoustic cello... I'm sorry, I'm looking at you right now performing. But go ahead, keep talking to us. Either an... if it's even an acoustic cello, or a carbon fiber, or any type of cello, it's just... has a beautiful shape..."