World Wish Day: 300K wishes and counting

By Matt Porter

April 29, 2013 Updated Apr 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Every 23 minutes, a wish is granted through the international Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Monday is "World Wish Day," marking the 33rd anniversary of Make-A-Wish's first wish.

The organization started granting wishes in 1980, and has since made dreams comes true for more than 300,000 sick children.

One of those wishes was granted to 4-year-old Jeremiah Bensing who was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 3.

His mother Jeanette said she was overwhelmed when she first learned about her son's diagnosis.

"It was hard, very hard," Bensing said. "We didn't know if he was going to live."

While in chemotherapy last March, little Jeremiah was given a big wish.

In fact, you could call it a 'monster' one.

Jeremiah and his family were sent to the Syracuse Monster Jam with an all-access pass.

"He had so much fun, it was so uplifting to see how excited he was to see and meet the drivers," Bensing said. "It was great for our whole family."

Now Jeremiah's smiling and in recovery.

He'll still have to get some chemotherapy treatments for at least the next two years.

Jeanette said Make-A-Wish made it possible be a "normal" kid during one of his more difficult moments.

"They took care of everything. We did nothing but show up," she said.

Dunkin Donuts franchise owner Ben Vanderlinde has multiple myeloma, a treatable blood cancer.

He's inspired by the plucky 4-year-old with an electric smile.

"See somebody like Jeremiah," Vanderlinde said, "And what a strong brave little guy he is. It really makes me and my people want to push and make sure his wish comes true."

Third baseman Wade Gaynor from the visiting Erie Seawolves happened to be eating breakfast when he met Jeremiah.

He hopes his and others' donations can help kids live up to their own major league dreams.

"I don't know how much a dollar helps, but hopefully it does a little bit," Gaynor said, "And I think it's a good cause that Dunkin Donuts is doing. Hopefully a lot of people give today."

Dunkin Donuts hopes to raise more than $40,000 from the week-long fundraiser ending today.

Gaynor invited Jeremiah and his three brothers and sisters to all his games against the Binghamton Mets this week.

His mom, couldn't be more thankful to everyone who donated.

"It's so beneficial to them and to the families as a whole, just thank you," Bensing said. "Their donation may help in giving another child the chance to have their wish granted."

If you'd like to make a donation or a refer a child to Make-A-Wish in Central New York, you can visit their website.

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