AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — This week, the community banded together to give children with critical illnesses a chance at seeing their dreams come true.

During this year’s Make-A-Wish Radiothon, an annual fundraising campaign at the Eastern Hills Mall, callers, bidders and online donors showed their generous hearts by giving more than $265,000.

The total was announced Friday morning at 10 a.m. after volunteers stationed at Sto Lat Bar took calls for 28 hours, and the number may increase as online donations continue to come in throughout the weekend.

Thanks to these donations, Make-A-Wish Western New York is able to bring smiles to children battling diseases like cancer and give them amazing gifts like trips to Disney or meet-ups with their favorite celebrities. The company hopes to grant wishes for 150 local kids this year.

Mike DiFonzo, who’s been volunteering with Make-A-Wish since 2011, says his favorite part of the annual campaign is “working with the great Wish Kids and their families, and granting wishes.”

“I think everybody should find out as much as they can about it because all the wishes are local,” he shared with us before the campaign kicked off Thursday morning.

Featuring live and silent auctions, the online portion of which ends Sunday at 8:30 p.m., donors bid on unique and special items like signed guitars, Bills tickets and an ice cream truck party for 50 people.

“Research shows a wish can give kids the strength to fight against and even overcome a critical illness,” Make-A-Wish says in its mission statement. “A wish unites neighbors, friends and entire communities in life-changing experiences.”

Latest Local News

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.