Pediatric Patient Makes Wish to Donate Technology Back to Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital with Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley

Hackensack, NJ – December 27, 2022 – On Monday, December 19, during a private presentation, Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley honored the wish of 15-year-old Shannon of Rockland County (NY), who elected to use her wish to give back to pediatric patients at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center.

With the help of Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley, Shannon gifted six iPads, six Nintendo Switches and 9 $100 Netflix subscription gift cards to benefit fellow patients during their hospital stays. 

“We are so moved by Shannon’s show of compassion and consideration in support of our patients,” said Burton E. Appel, M.D., associate director, Children’s Cancer Institute, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health and Shannon’s physician. “Shannon could have wished for a special trip or a once in a lifetime experience, but she thought of other children that could benefit from the use of technology during their hospital stays. We thank her for her kindness, and also Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley for granting her wish.”

In 2018, Shannon was diagnosed with a critical illness and although Shannon’s original wish was to attend Comic-Con San Diego, a convention dedicated to comic books, movies and comic culture, the spread of COVID-19 prevented that from happening. Shannon later faced some medical challenges which further delayed her wish and made her reimagine the experience.

After speaking with her mother, Shannon decided to act and give back to patients at the Children’s Hospital. For Shannon, days spent in the clinic for treatment were difficult, but with the help of electronics and video games, she was able to keep herself busy. She was able to work with the Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley team and pick out certain streaming services and devices that she enjoys and believes that other children would enjoy as well.

“Our Wish Team grants all types of wishes throughout the year whether it’s to have a room redecoration, a gaming computer, to meet their favorite celebrity, go to their favorite theme park or reconnect with family,” said Kristine Burton, president & CEO of Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley. “However, wishes like Shannon’s demonstrate the powerful impact of a wish – kids helping other kids get through treatment is truly an inspiration to us all.”

When wish kid Shannon was asked about why she chose a “to give” wish she shared, “I want to give kids what helped me through treatments and to give back to the clinic that helped me!”

For more than two decades, Dr. Appel has cared for pediatric patients with cancer and blood disorders. Since December 2020, he has had a special relationship with Make-A-Wish New Jersey, which closely collaborated with Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley to ensure Shannon’s wish was granted. As a chapter medical advisor. Dr. Appel is one of three pediatricians to serve in the position in New Jersey, and one of 200 pediatricians - some hematologists and oncologists but other specialists and generalists as well -  who serve in this capacity across the United States. He works closely with non-clinical team members of Make-A-Wish New Jersey in evaluating and ensuring a planned wish is safe for a patient and determining what kind of support is needed if travel is involved.

“We are so moved by Shannon’s selfless gift,” said Amy Glazer, executive director, Children’s Health, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health. “She truly thought of how our patients can keep themselves entertained during times that can be very challenging and scary. We are so grateful for Shannon’s most thoughtful gift, and commend her and Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley for their generosity this holiday season!”

To learn more about Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation or supporting Children’s Health, visit

About Make-A-Wish? Hudson Valley 

Make-A-Wish? Hudson Valley creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We seek to bring every eligible child's wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child's treatment journey. Research shows children who have received a wish are able to build the physical and emotional strength needed to fight critical illnesses. Since its inception in 1986, the Hudson Valley Chapter has granted wishes to over 3,000 children in the community it serves.  The Chapter’s territory spans eight counties of the Hudson Valley, including Delaware, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.  The Chapter is a Better Business Bureau Wise Alliance Accredited Charity, meeting the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.  Additionally, a recent independent audit of the chapter reported that 73% of all funds raised go to program services.  For more information about the Hudson Valley Chapter visit


Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3), is the philanthropic division of Hackensack Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. The foundation oversees fundraising for the network’s three academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and seven community-based medical center foundations, as well as key initiatives, programs and services offered by Hackensack Meridian Health, including nursing support, behavioral health, children’s health, Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery & Innovation and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.  

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation has been designated as both a High Performer Overall and Healthcare System High Performer by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) within their 2022 Report on Giving. 

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Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. The network has 18 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations, which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center. With more than 35,000 team members and 7,000 physicians, Hackensack Meridian Health is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy and committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey. 

The network’s notable distinctions include having more U.S. News-ranked hospitals than any other health system in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-23. Hackensack University Medical Center is nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, are ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, their combined nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. To learn more, visit  

Photo caption: 15-year-old Shannon used her wish with Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley to give back to pediatric patients at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. 

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