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Our Chapter’s First Wish

On May 5, 1983, Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia began revealing the power of a wish with seven-year-old Bryan, diagnosed with cancer.

As this chapter’s first wish kid, Bryan longed to visit his favorite uncle for one of their traditional piggyback rides. Bryan saw his uncle as a father figure, enjoying piggyback rides until his uncle moved to Texas. Back in McKeesport, PA, Bryan missed him more than anything.

With the help of caring people all over Pittsburgh who understood the importance of a child’s wish, Make-A-Wish raised the funds and made the arrangements for a trip that began two days before Bryan’s seventh birthday. When Bryan and his family arrived in Midland, TX, they found his uncle’s porch flooded with birthday presents from anonymous people. Word had gotten out about Bryan’s arrival as a wish kid, and the community united to bring him unbelievable memories.

When Bryan and his uncle went to a water park, a welcome sign prepared just for him hung in front of him. They also visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, where Bryan stared in awe at the haunting stalagmites. Bryan was even given the key to the city, before heading to the desert to search for dinosaur prints.

On Bryan’s seventh birthday, the whole family headed to Carmella’s Pizza Restaurant. There, Bryan received even more presents, collected from local companies. Proudly, the owner announced Bryan and his wish to his restaurant. Thus, an older couple approached Bryan with a hug and handed him an envelope. In it was yet another surprise—one hundred dollars.

Make-A-Wish does more than grant wishes. It brings families like Bryan’s together, inspires communities, and creates lifelong memories. Bryan lived five and a half more years after his wish was fulfilled. His story and his wish, however, live on.


Bryan Gets A Piggyback Ride



Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474