Make-A-Wish helps shape Elma native’s career path


ELMA, N.Y. (WIVB) — News 4 is partnering with 97 Rock to grant wishes to children with critical illnesses across Western New York. Our annual 28 hour radio-thon starts Thursday.

Grace Aroune is a Make-A-Wish alum. The Elma native was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer at 16-years-old. She says her wish not only changed her life, but shaped her career path.

After treatments at Roswell and a full removal of her thyroid,  she’s been in remission the past five years. And is now an advocate for Make-A-Wish Western New York, after the organization made her wish come true.

“I had two wonderful wish granters and they helped me grant my wish of having Bill Hader come to my high school and pull a prank on my classmates,” she said.

You may recognize Hader from Saturday Night Live. Back in 2015, he came to Iroquois High School. pretending the school was selected to film a fire safety video.

She says putting on the prank was a fun way to thank her classmates and community for all their support. It also showed her how much she liked directing.

‘This experience really kind of helped solidify that this is what i wanted to pursue as a career,” she said.

Aroune has directed shows in New York City and is now working back home in Buffalo for Shakespeare in the Park.

She wants other kids to have that same kind of life changing experience too and for that to happen, the community to step up. “We’re in difficult times right now but a donation of any size can really help make a difference,” she said.

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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