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Capital Region Make-a-Wish Recipient Has Novel Plan

Make-A-Wish Northeast New York teamed up with the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York to announce the granting of a special wish by an upstate teenager today.

A young woman who has struggled with epilepsy since childhood made a wish to start a dedicated fund to help the families of children with epilepsy and seizure disorders afford costly medication. Make-A-Wish CEO Bill Trigg spoke Thursday in Albany:

“We grant five types of wishes. To have something. To go somewhere special. To meet somebody special, like a sports and entertainment or other celebrity, or to be somebody special for a day. Those are our four basic wish types. But we also have a fifth wish type that is less common, but equally compelling, which is to give back. Over the course of the last 25 years we have granted four such wishes out of the nearly 2000 that we have granted in our 34-year history. And today we celebrate the granting of our fifth ‘I wish to give back wish’ by honoring 17-year-old Maria Lutz from Inlet, New York in Hamilton County.”

Lutz, who suffered years of seizures and endured surgery, says she can’t imagine being unable to afford her prescriptions, and she wants to make sure that no one else is in such a position. 

17-year-old Maria Lutz from Inlet, New York in Hamilton County
Credit WAMC / Dave Lucas
17-year-old Maria Lutz from Inlet, New York in Hamilton County

“I used to believe that this was some type of curse, that I did something wrong, and it was punishment from God. But then a wise woman once told me, ‘God gives His toughest battles to His strongest warriors.’ That wise moment was my mom. These words are the reason I am who I am today. If it wasn't for what I've gone through, I wouldn't be here now as strong as I am, doing something to hopefully change the lives of others. So there it is, I found another positive situation. Another positive thing from such an extremely awful negative situation.”

Jeannine Garab is Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York.

“Our organization provides information and referral, education, service coordination, counseling, support groups, and now, thanks to Maria, and epilepsy emergency medication fund. Maria's wish starts with a dedicated check for $10,000. The fund will be administered by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, and the money will help families who have epilepsy throughout our 22 counties in northeastern New York. It will help people afford vital medications that they need to control their seizures. The fund is intended to be a bridge until insurance is approved, or we can help a family get into a prescription program. We never want anyone with epilepsy to go without their medication simply because they can't afford it.”

If you know a child in need of epilepsy medication, here's a link to the qualifying form.

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