Make-A-Wish and Aquarium of Niagara virtually bring kids under the sea

Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Make-A-Wish Western New York has had to put several wishes on hold, due to Covid-19. In the meantime, the organization teamed up with the Aquarium of Niagara to offer virtual field trips for wish kids. ​

From penguins painting, to shark feeding , the Aquarium of Niagara is bringing wish kids under the sea, virtually. 6-year-old Desmond Benimoff is one of them.

“Thank you Make-A-Wish for letting me see the shark feeding,” he said.

Back in 2019 he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. “Your whole world changes instantly once you hear those words your child has cancer,” said his mother, Meghan Benimoff.

Des has been receiving chemotherapy treatments ever since, with a 95 percent success rate.  “It’s a long road, but he’s doing well,” she said.

He and his mother Meghan had been social distancing long before the rest of us. “He’s used to not being able to go many places and constantly washing his hands,” she said.

Des was all set to fly out to LEGO Land in California this August, but Make-A-Wish is holding off until it’s safe again to travel. So the Aquarium of Niagara stepped in to give him and other wish kids some virtual fun, in the meantime.

“Having your wish come true and then being told it’s on hold it must be really hard,” said Christine Streich, Aquarium of Niagara Director of communications. “So just anything that can make their load a little easier is something that we all want to try to do.”

Any child is also welcome to visit the aquarium’s Facebook page for daily lives at 2 p.m.

And Des has a message for everyone at home. “Please stay home and wash your hands so I don’t get sick,” he said.

For any more information on Make-A-Wish head here.

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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