BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The News 4 Wake Up team joined supporters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation by wearing blue on Wednesday in honor of World Wish Day. Every wish the Western New York chapter grants is special, but one in particular is inspiring the community this spring.
Many children with life threatening illnesses choose to go on a family vacation or meet a celebrity through Make-A-Wish, but 16-year-old Mariana Maniscalco from Tonawanda decided to take the opportunity as a chance to inspire others.
Mariana is fighting a rare brain infection that also affects her heart. It even resulted in a massive stroke. Instead of wishing for an experience would take her mind off her battle, she chose to confront what she went through in creative way. Mariana documented her experience and recovery so far, in a book called, If Your Head Can’t, Your Heart Will. But What If that’s Broken Too?
“It’s kind of a literal title and an emotional title,” Mariana explained. “I had three brain surgeries and an open heart surgery. So it’s on an emotional level, and a truly physical level. It tells my story of my journey through the hospital and what I’ve learned. And what everybody else can learn.”
Mariana’s dad, Mark Gaughan, is a sports writer for The Buffalo News, was surprised when Mariana told him what she had in mind for her wish. “When we got accepted for the Make a Wish program, I was thinking maybe she would want to go see a Taylor Swift concert or something. So it was out of the blue. We thought it was a great idea. It was really her vision from start to finish.”
Make-A-Wish WNY worked with Baby Coop Publishing to publish Mariana’s book, which is now available on Amazon. Mariana will donate the proceeds back to the foundation. She’s doing great now, and inviting the public to her book signing at Room on Hertel Avenue Wednesday evening from 7 to 9pm.