The stars aligned Monday morning when two handsome, black limousines parked in front of the upper level Macy’s entrance to Crossgates Mall. Blue stars, each bearing the words “Make-A-Wish,” were stuck on the limousines’ doors.
Their passengers were eagerly greeted with hugs and handshakes, while in the background the rhythmic clicking of news cameras filled the entryway.
The girls receiving the star treatment were Megan Brown, 17, of Wynantskill, and Melissa Tamessar, 16, of Schenectady. The two had, without coordinating, made the same wish for the same day through Make-A-Wish Northeast New York.
“Both girls, from different towns and schools, worked with different wish-granting volunteers and independently scheduled their ‘shopping spree’ wishes for the same day at the same mall,” a Make-A-Wish news release said.
The simultaneous wishes are special for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York because, among other reasons, they will be counted together as the chapter’s 1,300th wish granted.
Upon entering Macy’s, the girls, each accompanied by their families, split up and began their shopping sprees.
Brown was shopping for school supplies, since she’ll be attending the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., this fall. She began by looking for a down comforter, “the softest one you’ve got,” she said. From there she ventured into the luggage and shoe departments, making a stop in the men’s clothing department to buy a coat for her boyfriend.
Tamessar’s list was more flexible, and she was keeping it a secret.
Her mother, Chandra Tamessar, said “This is her first time out shopping, so it’s a special day because of that too. She told me she’s going to shop for clothes and some personal items. Whatever she chooses, if it makes her happy it’ll make me happy as well.”
Make-A-Wish spokesman Timothy Riley said each Make-A-Wish child is assigned two volunteer “wish-granters.”
Children with life-threatening medical conditions are recommended to Make-A-Wish by their physicians, parents or nurses. Depending on age and illness, each child will be granted his or her wish. The illness must be life-threatening. Brown has cancer and Tamessar has a seizure disorder.
Once they’ve met Make-A-Wish’s requirements, children are referred to a pair of wish-granters. Wish-granters work with the children to make sure they’ll get what they want, and also provide moral support during and after the wish-granting process.
Riley is a volunteer wish-granter himself. He said it was one of the “especially fun” parts of the job.
“Children can have any number of wishes granted to them, whether they want to go somewhere or meet someone. … We see more and more kids going with the shopping spree option these days,” he said.
One of Tamessar’s wish-granters was Nathan Pyne.
“This is my first one and it’s pretty powerful,” he said. “It’s great to see them be able to forget about the difficult things they’ve got going on and just enjoy themselves for a day.”
Nearby, Tamessar was chatting with a makeup counselor. As she sat on a high, black stool, the counselor withdrew different eyeliners, blushes and lipsticks from her kit and made expert use of them on Tamessar’s face. Once all of the makeup had been applied, Tamessar’s younger sister asked that she be given the same treatment.
In the nearby shoe department, Brown was sitting next to her two younger siblings and her mother, discussing what style and fit of shoe she would like to take to college with her.
Store director Patti Ryder said her store was proud to be a part of the process.
Riley said many workers at the Crossgates Macy’s had come in early that day to make sure that they were available to provide the girls VIP treatment. Store workers, wearing red name tags, manned each of the departments of the store and made sure the girls were greeted with welcoming smiles.
Riley said this is the first time in Make-A-Wish Northeast New York’s history that two wishes had coincided. He also said the organization fulfills between 90 and 100 wishes a year.
The girls shared lunch together in the food court and Crossgates Mall donated additional gift certificates and movie passes to them.
Categories: Schenectady County