Before Santa Claus delivered gifts across the world, he made a special delivery to one 6-year-old boy from Shirley on Dec. 23.
Joshua*, who was diagnosed with lymphomatoid granulomatosis, a cancer of the lymph tissue, had his wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Joshua made a wish to have an electronic shopping spree that included a new PlayStation 5, video games and a laptop computer.
Little did Joshua know, his wish would be presented to him by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County with a parade of fire trucks from the Mastic Beach and Mastic Fire Departments, the Brookhaven Fire Department, Mastic Beach Ambulance and the big man himself: Santa Claus.
Around 4:45 p.m., 17 pieces of apparatus from the three departments left the Mastic Beach station at 265 Neighborhood Road and headed to Joshua’s home on Beachwood Drive in Shirley.
With his mask on, Joshua shyly approached Santa with his parents’ support. He was surprised at the sight of the gaming console and Make-A-Wish bag full of goodies—and said he was eager to play his new “Spiderman” game.
Karine Hollander, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County, thanked the departments after the child received his gifts.
“You guys are heroes on a daily basis in serving the community,” she said, “But tonight, you are part of delivering the hope and magic of a wish to a 6-year-old hero with a really great heart. We can’t thank you enough for making this a special moment for Joshua and his family.”
All participants received blue glow-in-the-dark star pins from Make-A-Wish as a remembrance for Joshua’s wish come true.
Fred Loiacono, chief of the Mastic Beach Fire Department, said his department was eager to get involved once he got word of Joshua’s wish.
“Anytime we can help the community, anything other than our normal duties, we’re always there,” Loiacono said. “We have guys step up for the occasion every time.”
Make-A-Wish Suffolk County originally contacted the neighboring department of Brookhaven, not realizing that the address was in the Mastic Beach district, Loiacono said.
Then, Brookhaven’s second assistant chief, Anthony Verni, contacted Mastic Beach, and they decided to make the wish a collaborative effort.
“It’s just to show the community that we’re all in this together,” he said. “Everyday life, dealing with the strange times we’re living in with COVID-19—this makes it even a little bit more special to do this for him and offer a little bit of normalcy.”
Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities. The organization creates wishes for children with critical illnesses in every community in the United States and its territories. Its Suffolk chapter, founded in 1983, grants an average of 100 wishes per year.
* Editor's Note: The last name of this individual has been witheld upon request.