Two Pittsburgh seniors who share a friendly NFL rivalry had their wish to attend the recent Steelers vs. Browns game granted, thanks to the Allegheny County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Phyllis Varga, 86, loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and John Swidarski, 77, is a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. Both are residents of Sheptytsky Arms, a low-income housing facility for seniors in Pittsburgh. Neither Varga or Swidarski have ever seen their favorite teams play in person and cannot afford it on their own. Swidarski, an Army veteran, is very active in his church and helps make pierogis every week. He is also active in his community, serving as Vice President of the Sheptytsky Arms Resident Council. Varga is also very active in the community, volunteering at her church and with Meals on Wheels. They had a great time at the Steelers – Browns game on Sunday, November 15th.
Ida Denitti, a resident of Smithon, Pennsylvania, had her wish for a stairlift granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish and A+ Stairlifts of Pittsburgh. Denitti, 85, has lived her life giving of herself to others. She volunteered at Excela Health Frick Hospital for over 30 years. In addition to her years at the hospital, she was a volunteer with the Smithon Ambulance Service, serving as treasurer, committee chairperson, ambulance attendant and dispatcher. Denitti also enjoys crocheting and puts this talent to good use making tiny blankets to accompany stuffed animals that are delivered to shut-ins and others who are ill to bring them comfort and cheer. She also crochets lap pads for nursing home residents and sends items to soldiers overseas. Denitti has had six surgeries on her knees and it has become very difficult for her to go up and down the stairs. Because her bathroom and bedroom are on the second floor, a stairlift will greatly improve her quality of life. A huge thank you to Carl D'Alicandro, owner of A+ Stairlifts for donating both the lift and his time installing it.
Linda Gorelik, 78, a resident of New York City, had her simple wish for a new television granted, thanks to the New York chapter of national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation. Gorelik is housebound because of several medical issues and lives alone with her cat who she rescued as a kitten, finding her on the street shortly after the September 11th attack. With no family or friends near her, Gorelik relies on her favorite shows and movies for entertainment. Her old television no longer works and, because she lives on a fixed income, Gorelik couldn’t afford to replace it on her own. She worked for years in advertising, creating several public service campaigns, including one for The International Center in New York. Her wish for a new television was granted on October 28, 2015.
Hermine Nelson, 85, a resident of Queens Village, NY, recently had her simple wish for a new stove granted, thanks to our Long Island, NY chapter. Hermine, a widow, lives on her own in the house she and her husband bought 51 years ago. She has been without a stove since April when her 51-year-old stove finally stopped working. Hermine has been using a microwave to cook her meals, but she loves to cook and misses having a stove. Because she lives on a fixed income, she could not afford to replace it on her own. Chapter director James Ciervo delivered her new stove which was donated by a generous donor.
Lillian Buchanan, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, will have her simple wish for a lift chair granted, thanks to our Alabama chapter. Buchanan, 74, has several medical issues including heart and pulmonary problems and rheumatoid arthritis and has great difficulty getting up from a regular chair. A lift chair would greatly improve her quality of life, reducing the amount of pain she has to endure just getting up from a sitting position. For over 25 years, Buchanan was the housekeeping supervisor for a local senior living community with 240 units. Although she is retired, she still worries about the residents living there and keeps in touch with many of them. Her nominator, friend and past co-worker Judy Murphree, wrote about her: “Lil has been a true inspiration in my life, not only as a co-worker, but as a true friend. Even though she is now disabled, she still checks on some of the residents where she worked. She deserves so much for giving of herself, unselfishly, then and now.” Her wish for a lift chair was granted on Thursday, October 15th. This is the first wish granted by the Alabama chapter.
Cheryl Rivers, a resident of Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Lima, Pennsylvania, recently had her wish to go out for lunch and a shopping trip to WalMart granted, thanks to the generosity of several donors. Rivers was nominated by her social worker who wrote that "she is a loving, kind-hearted person and would thrive with this opportunity." Rivers loves clothes, but because of her situation and limited income, she has not been able to enjoy a shopping trip in a long time. Rivers was treated like a queen for the day: she had her nails and her done, was picked up in a limo, enjoyed lunch at Applebee's and then shopped at WalMart. Thank you to all who made this simple wish come true for such a special person.
Alice Sanders, a resident of Fairless Hilles, Pennsylvania, recently had her wish for a new bed granted. Sanders, 81, lives on a limited income in subsidized senior housing. Before having her heart attack, Sanders was an active member of her church and sang in the choir. In addition, she is on the council in her facility. She desperately needed a new mattress, but couldn't afford it on her own. Her simple wish was granted on September 30th. Special thanks to Sleepys for discounting the mattress and to volunteer Nickie Trottier for helping to grant this wish and donating bedding.
Jerri Rose and Steven Coleman, both residents of Washington Healthcare Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, had their wish to get married granted, thanks to a partnership between the Indiana chapter of national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation and American Senior Communities. Rose and Coleman have formed a strong bond and spend most of their time together when possible. They wished to be legally married and live together, but aren’t physically or financially able to plan their wedding on their own. Both Rose and Coleman are active within the facility’s community and go out of their way to help others. The staff at Washington Healthcare Center, in conjunction with the Indiana chapter of Twilight Wish, worked hard to organize a beautiful wedding for them, complete with wedding cake, flowers, minister and guests.
Morris Wheeler, a resident of Terre Haute, Indiana recently had his wish for new appliances granted, thanks to the partnership between the Twilight Wish Foundation Chapter of Indiana and Springhill Village, a proud member of American Senior Communities. Wheeler, 82, is a Marine veteran and still continues to work as a crossing guard at Davis Park Elementary School, a job he loves and has held for over 15 years. Springhill Village and Twilight Wish have worked with ACE Hardware of Terre Haute to repair his washing machine and replace his gas stove. Having these two items in working condition will enable Wheeler to continue to safely live on his own and maintain his independence. Special thanks to ACE Hardware for discounting the cost of the stove and providing free installation. Also, thank you to Davis Park Elementary School children and staff who surprised Wheeler with a signed stop sign as well. Wheeler’s wish was granted on Wednesday, September 9th.
Jane Rhodaberger, an 83-year-old resident of Cabot, Pennsylvania, had her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet second baseman Neil Walker granted, thanks to the Butler County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. The two most important things in Rhodaberger are her family and baseball. As the mother of 13 children, Rhodaberger always put her family first. She is grandmother to 40 grandchildren and will welcome her 37th great-grandchild in September. In addition, Rhodaberger is an active member of St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Butler and has volunteered at Herman Fire Hall for over 40 years. Her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet Neil Walker was granted on Thursday, September 10th. In addition, she walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to PNC Park with her family, something she has always wanted to do. 75 of her family members accompanied her to the game! Thank you to the Pittsburgh Pirates who donated 13 tickets for this wish and arranged for Rhodaberger to meet Walker.
Emma Wright, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, PA, had her wish to travel to Orlando to attend the Morris Cerullo Worldwide School of Ministry granted by our Westmoreland County chapter. Wright, 92, is very passionate about her faith and is an avid follower of evangelist Morris Cerullo. Wright volunteers with her church, baking cookies to sell to raise funds for the missionaries. Wright is a mother of four and has ten grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. According to her nominator, Wright is an amazing woman. She recently visited with her family and rode a quad with one of the great grand-children and tried a trampoline! Wright and her friend, Karen Schmidt, traveled from Latrobe to Orlando, leaving on Thursday, September 3rd and returning on Monday, September 7th.
David Coonahan, a resident of Neshaminy Manor in Warrington, had his wish to attend a Phillies game granted on his 96th birthday, thanks to Twilight Wish Foundation and the Phillies organization. Coonahan is a lifelong Phillies fan and watches every game on television. He is a new resident at Neshaminy Manor and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Having his wish granted would lift his spirits, according to Director of Recreation, Kathy Bates. Coonahan is a World War II veteran who served in Pearl Harbor for four years after the Japanese attacked. He was very active in his parish, Holy Martyrs, for many years and is their oldest living member. Coonahan, two other Neshaminy Manor residents and family members enjoyed a night at Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies take on the San Diego Padres, thanks to the generosity of the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Don Crohe, a resident of Neshaminy Manor in Warrington, had his wish to return to his hometown of Bristol for the day granted, thanks to local nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation. Crohe, who is 68, volunteered as both a fireman with Bristol Fire Department (Station 53) and as an EMT for the Bucks County Rescue Squad for 46 years until he became sick. Over the years of his service, Crohe delivered nine babies and rescued several people from burning homes. He still keeps in touch with the first baby he ever delivered! Crohe is also an Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War. On Thursday, August 27th, Crohe’s brother, Harry Crohe, drove him in a wheelchair-accessible van to Bristol where they visited several of Don’s favorite places including a stop at the America Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, #2, Station 53. Special thanks to MobilityWorks of Bethlehem for discounting the cost of the van rental. Pictured: Don and Harry Crohe.
Martha Miles, a resident of Brownsburg Meadows in Brownsburg, Indiana, had her wish to attend an Indianapolis Colts football game granted, thanks to a partnership between the Indiana chapter of national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation and American Senior Communities. Miles has been an avid Colts fan ever since they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. She has not been able to attend a game since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, but still watches every single game on television. Now 82, Miles wished to attend one more game in person telling her nominator, Tonya Pearcy, Activities Director at her facility, “It would be amazing to be part of a live game one more time.” Miles raised five children on her own and worked hard to provide them with everything they needed. Despite her busy life, she taught Sunday school at Chapel Rock Church for years and was part of a mission trip to Poland where she helped to build a church in a small village. Her wish to attend a Colts game came true on Saturday, August 22nd, thanks to the Colts organization who donated eight seats in a suite, food and drinks. The Colts also sent Miles Colts memorabilia to make her day even more special. But, the best part of her day was having Matt Overton, Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee introduce themselves to her and chat for a while!
Joseph Vennera, a hospice patient in Norristown, PA, recently had his wish to see people dance the jitterbug one more time granted. Vennera, 84, loved to dance when he was younger. Six couples from local dance clubs surprised him at his facility and danced the jitterbug while he watched happily.
Elizabeth Watt, a resident of Delmont, PA, recently had her wish for an autographed Andrew McCutchen jersey granted. Dr. Jennifer Douglas of Delmont Family Medicine nominated her patient Elizabeth Watt to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish to have her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet her favorite player granted. This fall, Elizabeth will be celebrating her 102nd birthday. While her health didn't permit a trip to PNC Park, her wish was fulfilled with a signed jersey.
Helen Brown, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had her wish for a new mattress granted, thanks to our Tucson chapter and Mattress Firm. Brown, 90, suffers from back, shoulder and joint problems and needed a better, more supportive mattress, but couldn't afford one on her own. Mattress Firm donated a mattress and boxspring for Brown.
Kenneth Brooks, a 71-year-old resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had his wish for dentures granted, thanks to our Tucson chapter. Brooks, a veteran of the Marines, could not afford dentures on his own. His new dentures will enable him to eat and speak properly and will allow him to be more social.
Patti Sereno, 71, a resident of Tucson, Arizona recently had her wish for hearing aids granted thanks to the Tucson chapter of Twilight Wish and El Dorado Audiology. Sereno is deaf in her left ear from a childhood bout with mumps and was starting to lose hearing in her right ear. She struggled to hear for yeras as her hearing faded, but couldn't afford hearing aids on her own. Our Tucson chapter worked with El Dorado Audiology to outfit Sereno with hearing aids. El Dorado and Widex, the manufacturer of the hearing aids, donated the new device valued at $6,000.
Thanks to a generous donor, Gladys' wish will soon be granted! Gladys is described as a tender hearted, very humble lady who is always smiling. She is currently the Resident Council President at her nursing home and is an active member of the Red Hat Ladies Club. One of her favorite memories was going to the casino with her now deceased husband to play the slot machines. She especially like the lights and the bountiful buffets. She wishes to return to a casino with her son, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren to celebrate her recent birthday.