BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are celebrating Western New York with a couple who decided to take what's been a tough year for them, and so many Western New Yorkers, and do something positive for others.
They are teaming up with small businesses to do a big fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. About 25 businesses are helping, so far.
Sydney and Tony Mastrangelo decided to become Make-A-Wish "Wish Heroes" after they lost their baby to a miscarriage at 13 weeks on Christmas Eve. They want to help other families right here in Western New York and do something positive for the community.
"We wanted to take that fear, and anger, and sadness, and turn it into excitement and hope for another family. Hope that there's brighter days ahead because we've experienced that there are," said Sydney Mastrangelo. "You're not always going to experience that fear that, you know, when is it going to be my last day with my kid? Am I going to get to go to Disney? Maybe that's their wish is to go to Disney. Are we going to be able to get there because of how sick they are? So, we just want to turn that into hope and make these memories for that family."
Tony Mastrangelo contacted Make-a-Wish, and like many organizations, they needed help because of the pandemic. It's hard to do normal fundraisers right now. Sydney and Tony Mastrangelo thought there's strength in numbers, and used their network of friends to come up with a way to make their impact even bigger, so they are partnering with different businesses across Western New York to raise money for Make-A-Wish. These are businesses that have, in many cases, lost money during the pandemic.
"We're talking restaurants that had a terrible year. A gym that was closed for probably six months, and we're not talking humongous corporations, we're talking small mom and pop, salt of the earth Buffalo people and Buffalo businesses that are giving back when frankly, they don't have the extra money, but they want to help," Tony Mastrangelo said.
Sydney Mastrangelo added, "For them to just have that generous heart and really step up and say they want to help just goes to show that there really is still hope for our community. There are still good people in the world, and I am just so thankful that they're helping us out."
They started with a goal of $1,000. That is what you sign up to do when you're a "Wish Hero." They're already up to $7,000, and they're pushing it to $10,000 - which is the average cost to grant a child's wish.
If you want to help, they're also doing a bottle and can drive. It is this Saturday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in West Seneca, and it's a drive-thru event following COVID-19 safety guidelines.