ONEIDA — When nine-year-old Collin Morgan, who suffers from a form of leukemia, heard he was eligible to make a wish — he insisted it be something he could enjoy with his four siblings.
Ultimately, he decided on a backyard playset — and the angels at Make-A-Wish, along with help from the company Bristol Myers Squibb, helped turn that wish into reality with a new backyard playset.
In 2019, Collin’s family said he quickly went from his happy, playful self to feeling fatigued, achy, and feverish. Over the course of one weekend, he developed symptoms that worried his family. “He was so tired and sick he was unable to walk,” recalled Collin’s grandmother, Victoria Durant. “We knew something was seriously wrong. When we took him to the hospital, we had to pick him up and carry him to the van.”
After visiting a local healthcare center, bloodwork results pointed to a serious condition. Collin was referred to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where physicians confirmed his diagnosis: b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He would need to begin treatment immediately.
“When he was admitted, we scrambled to get what we needed,” Durant said. “We ended up staying there a month.” Since then, Collin has received ongoing treatment, including chemotherapy, which he’ll need for a total of three years. During treatment, Collin’s doctors referred him to Make-A-Wish Central New York for a once-in-a-lifetime wish.
“When we found out he was approved for a wish, all I did was cry,” Durant said. “But they were happy tears!”
On Wednesday, July 28, Make-A-Wish Central New York surprised Collin with his wish-come-true — a white cedar playset by Bears Playground featuring two slides, a bridge, a climbing wall, and a climbing net with lots of room for family and friends.
“It’s wonderful,” Durant said of the playset. “This will keep him busy for a long, long time.”
“Partners like Bristol Myers Squibb are the reason we can grant life-
changing wishes to children with critical illnesses in our community,” said Diane Kuppermann, president and CEO for Make-A-Wish Central New York. “Now more than ever, hope is essential to our wish families who are some of the most vulnerable among us. This generous donation will help us bring joy back into the lives of kids like Collin.”
Bristol Myers Squibb is celebrating its five-year partnership with Make-A-Wish America with a $500,000 contribution to help grant more wishes for children with critical illnesses. The funds, given annually to Make-A-Wish since 2017, will continue to help grant wishes for children like Collin.
Bristol Myers Squibb’s cumulative charitable donations totaling more than $4 million have enabled hundreds of wish kids to experience hope and healing through the power of a wish. There is still a great need for support to grant waiting wishes.
Make-A-Wish Central New York continues to find creative ways to deliver ongoing hope through experiences like outdoor adventure equipment, bedroom makeovers, customized golf carts, and backyard playsets. Make-A-Wish employees and volunteers are committed to granting every possible wish that is safe to complete.
“As a long-standing supporter of Make-A-Wish, we have seen first-hand the power of a wish granted for a child facing cancer and their family,” said Adam Lenkowsky, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Cardiovascular, Immunology, Oncology, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We are proud to support the incredible work of the Make-A-Wish team in bringing joy and renewed hope to families at a time when it is needed most.”
To learn more and find out how to get involved, visit www.cny.wish.org.