2012-06-14 / Front Page

Giants rookies bring smiles to ‘wish children’

Parent: You can’t put a value on this experience
BY JAMES McEVOY
Staff Writer


New York Giants rookie tight end Larry Donnell signs a football for Halie and her mom Dana Palmer, of Middletown, during a meet and greet with members of the Giants’ rookie draft class at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place on June 6. 
JEFF GRANIT staff New York Giants rookie tight end Larry Donnell signs a football for Halie and her mom Dana Palmer, of Middletown, during a meet and greet with members of the Giants’ rookie draft class at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place on June 6. JEFF GRANIT staff MONROE — Members of the New York Giants 2012 rookie class will spend much of their summer learning playbooks, conditioning and preparing for their first season in professional football.

Last week, the players for the defending Super Bowl champions practiced for another role, bringing smiles to the faces of young boys and girls through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. About a dozen players toured the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, Perrineville Road, which serves as the foundation’s New Jersey headquarters, and spent time with “wish children” and their families, signing autographs and having lunch together.

Carla Volpe of Monroe, whose son Jonathan’s wish to go to Walt Disney World was granted in 2010, praised both the charity and the Giants organization.


Malik (l) and Sarah Naser of Garfield pose for a photo with New York Giants running back David Wilson, a member of the rookie draft class. 
JEFF GRANIT staff Malik (l) and Sarah Naser of Garfield pose for a photo with New York Giants running back David Wilson, a member of the rookie draft class. JEFF GRANIT staff “You can’t put a value on this,” Volpe said. “Today [my kids] are very happy. They wanted to be here. We’ll never forget this.

“God bless Make-A-Wish. We love Make-A-Wish and we’re just happy to be a part of it,” she added.

Losa Obu of Burlington County, whose son King’s wish to go to Disney World was also granted, said it was hard to articulate the impact of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“They make the impossible become possible for these children,” Obu said. “I don’t think they even understand what Make-AWish does for children. It’s like they’re bringing that child back to life.”

Obu also lauded the Giants.

“Seeing the impression they have on the children is amazing,” she said.

Members of the Giants’ rookie class said the impact factor was a two-way street and they were touched by their interactions with the children and their families.

Julian Talley, a wide receiver from the University of Massachusetts, said interacting with the wish kids was a privilege.

“It’s a real humbling experience. This is my first time being introduced to the whole Make-A-Wish organization,” Talley said. “It’s a really incredible thing they’re doing here for these children. It really touches your heart to see these people help some of these kids and granting their wishes.

“It’s humbling to know what kind of impact I can have and help them fight that much more,” he added. “After visiting this place and going through all the rooms, I definitely would like to come back and help the foundation.”

Adewale Ojomo, a defensive end from the University of Miami, said he was impressed by the courage exhibited by the wish kids.

“It touched my heart,” Ojomo said. “I thought I was tough … these kids are tough. They’re fighting all kinds of illnesses and sicknesses. They inspire me. This was a privilege. We can really inspire these kids and bring a smile to their faces.”

Tom Weatherall, president and CEO of the New Jersey chapter of Make-A-Wish, thanked the New York Giants organization and told the rookies of the significant impact they can have on the children.

“You inspire them and you give them something to cheer for and smile about,” Weatherall said. “We can’t say enough about this partnership and how grateful and blessed we are that you guys took the time to come down here to be with us today.”

Weatherall reflected on past wishes granted by coaches and players, including times when wish children were brought onto the field and into the locker room.

“One of the signs [in the Giants’ locker room] says, ‘No toughness, no championship,’ ” he said. “You won’t find a tougher group of people than every one of these wish children.”

Return to top