Make-A-Wish celebrates World Wish Day April 29th 2023 at American Dream


Annual Walk & Roll For Wishes raises vital funds to restore hope when hope is needed most

Attendees at World Wish Day in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

Attendees at World Wish Day in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ – On April 29th, the Make-A-Wish New Jersey World Wish Day Walk & Roll for Wishes was hosted at American Dream in East Rutherford, presented by the Battista family and Gusto Grill. The event raised over $150,000 for their mission to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Over 600 supporters gathered for an inspirational celebration as the New Jersey chapter celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, granting nearly 12,000 wishes for children with critical illnesses throughout the Garden State since its inception. The event was a celebration of the entire New Jersey community that has continued to provide the essential support and vital funding needed to continue to deliver hope, strength and joy to children with critical illnesses.

For over four decades, Make-A-Wish has granted over 550,000 wishes across the United States and around the world. April 29th marks the global anniversary of the day that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish globally and is known as World Wish Day.

In April 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona, seven-year-old Chris Greicius, who was battling leukemia, wanted to become a police officer. Members of law enforcement, including U.S. Customs agents and the Department of Public Safety, came together to create a life-changing experience for him, including a full police uniform, tours in a squad car, and even a ride in a helicopter. Those involved in that special day were determined they could provide the same level of hope, strength, and joy for more kids like Chris and created an unparalleled type of charity known as Make-A-Wish.

“On World Wish Day, we draw strength and inspiration from our forty years of wish granting, and we remain committed to our vision to reach every eligible child,” shared Tom Weatherall, President & CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “We rely one hundred percent on the benevolence of the community to continue to move our mission forward. We are in the business of restoring hope when it is needed most, and we welcome the generous support of our friends throughout the Garden State to continue to reach more children every year.”

“American Dream is honored to host the first Make-A-Wish New Jersey Walk & Roll For Wishes event since the pandemic,” said Don Ghermezian, CEO of American Dream. “As a family-owned business, we understand how important it is to connect with and draw support from the community and are thrilled to serve as the site that will bring New Jersey residents together to celebrate these incredible, brave kids and their loved ones.”

Guests enjoyed a family-friendly event powered by wish families, volunteers, companies, schools, donors and friends. During the program, George Oliphant of NBC’s George to the Rescue celebrated with the audience a recent wish granted through a partnership with Make-A-Wish New Jersey for seven-year-old James Popelka, whose wish was for an accessible movie and gaming room in his home where he could invite his family and friends to join him in his most beloved experience of watching movies.

The event also included a fun and interactive walk inside the unique destination, food, entertainment, and an inspiring program filled with stories and testimonies of wishes come true. At the same time, the Walk & Roll for Wishes showcased the strong community investment of local businesses, organizations and community members who continue to provide the necessary resources to bring the mission of Make-A-Wish to life.

Visit Make-A-Wish New Jersey to learn more or to donate.

Presenting Sponsor:

The Battista Family and Gusto Gril

Event Sponsors:

American Dream I Coyne PR I Drizzilicious I First Commerce Bank I Fujitsu I Lamar Advertising
InThyme I Milestone Photobooth I Outfront Media I Wheels for Wishes I Z-100 / iHeart Media

About Make-A-Wish® New Jersey

Make-A-Wish New Jerseycreates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. In the fight against a critical illness, a wish serves as a catalyst for renewed strength and encouragement for every child and family on their journey.A wish helps kids look past their limitations, families overcome anxiety and entire communities experience joy. Most importantly, wishes can improve a child’s quality of life. We believe a single wish transforms lives. With their national headquarters based in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, with 57 chapters serving children in every community in the United States and its territories, and nearly 40 international affiliates. Make-A-Wish New Jersey was founded in 1983. Serving children in every municipality in the Garden State, Make-A-Wish New Jersey has granted nearly 12,000 wishes since its inception. For more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, call 800-252-WISH or visit and discover how you can help transform lives, one wish at a time.

Contact:Michael Dominick, Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications, email: or call: 215-272-5032

Make-A-Wish® New Jersey

Samuel & Josephine Plumeri
Wishing Place
1384 Perrineville Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831

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