(WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Every year in the Poconos, companies, and individuals come together to raise money for local non-profits. The 16th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser has raised more than $2.6 million.
This year, the group chose five non-profits to help and throughout the week, Eyewitness News Reporter Brianna Strunk is explaining each organizations’ role in their community
Doing school work from a hospital bed. This is not how Ryan Garnes of East Stroudsburg pictured his junior year of high school.
“It’s not something people should really go through, and it’s not fun,” said Ryan.
Following a routine physical exam, Ryan was eventually diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare, but treatable cancer. The 17-year-old immediately started chemotherapy.
“Now that was hard. That was very difficult. But with God, all things are possible,” said Donna Garnes, Ryan’s mother.
As Ryan fought, he dreamed of warmer, sunnier days.
“I often call myself a Fairy Godmother!” exclaimed Maggie O’Brien, Regional Manager of Make A Wish America.
He had no idea this woman would magically make a trip to the Bahamas suddenly appear. Maggie O’Brien works with Make-a-Wish America’, an organization that grants wishes for children with critical illnesses. This chapter has granted 250 wishes in Monroe County since 1987.
“So we’ve done everything from turning kids into Jedis, princess makeovers, bedroom makeovers, car restorations, shopping sprees, meet the pope,” said Maggie with a laugh.
After completing treatment, Ryan and his family excitedly boarded a plane to Atlantis Resort, set up and paid for by ‘Make a Wish’.
“It was good, I enjoyed it. It was a good distraction from what actually happened,” Ryan told us.
Today, Ryan is cancer-free, proving to all if there’s a wish, there’s a way.
Eyewitness News Reporter Brianna Strunk is once again emceeing the big event on Thursday, July 25. That’s when we’ll learn how much money all five non-profits receive.