‘Make-A-Wish’ Comes True for Ocean Acres Boy

Backyard ‘Paradise’ for 7-Year-Old
By Ava Ruff | Aug 14, 2019

Stafford Township — Seven-year-old Nicky Angelone made a wish that was granted on Aug. 7. He wished for an accessible playground for the backyard of his home in the Ocean Acres section of Stafford Township. Like magic, there appeared a crisp white, nautical-themed playground, complete with a navy blue ship wheel; a yellow ripple wave slide; a bright blue, full support swing seat; a gangplank; binoculars; and an open spiral slide.

The SR Play set will provide for daily adventures for the ship’s captain, who has a rare genetic condition called Koolen-De Vries Syndrome. There are only 200 people known in the world with this syndrome.

“Make-A-Wish New Jersey is proud to grant Nicky’s wish for a play set,” according to the organization’s director of communications, Michael P. Dominick. “It will provide him with a place to create happy memories with friends and family today, tomorrow and for years to come.

“The hope, strength and joy a wish gives to courageous children like Nicky inspires us every day. We thank everyone who played a part in making Nicky’s wish a reality, and for celebrating with him on his special wish delivery day.”

With over 400 active volunteers, 560 wishes have been granted this year and 10,000 in the state since 1983. Make-a-Wish is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 60 chapters throughout the United States and 41 international affiliates on five continents. The mission: “Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.”

The organization explains, “A wish serves as a catalyst for renewed strength and encouragement for every child and family on their journey.”

“Working with Make-A-Wish was a great experience,” said Nick’s mother, Linda Angelone, describing the process as “seamless.”

Make-A-Wish and Nicky’s pediatrician, Michael Bleiman, worked together to make it happen. After Nicky qualified medically, the family visited the Castle, where Nicky officially submitted his wish.

“We wanted a wish that would last for years and grow with him,” his mother said. “This was the perfect wish for Nicky.”

Along with his father, Christopher Angelone, and 12-year-old brother Kristofer, the family gathered with friends and neighbors to celebrate completion of the play set.

“This playground means so much to us,” Linda continued. “It is a great place not only for Nicky, but for us to share with our family, friends and their children. Not only will Nicky get the stimulation from the swings and slides, but he will also be able to socialize with his siblings, cousins, and friends.

“Nicky’s favorite part is the ripple slide. We do a countdown when he is on top, and he cracks up laughing. The play set makes him much happier, and he enjoys being out in the yard with us because he now has ‘Nicky’s Place.’

“Kline Brothers Landscaping took the helm and turned a plain old yard into a playground paradise for my kids,” she continued. “Lowes in Manahawkin supplied all of the lumber for the area to create a base. And Hackensack Meridian employees helped with the cleanout,” she remarked. “It’s amazing how total strangers helped my son. I am so grateful, and want everyone to know there are good people in our community.”

During the construction, Linda marveled at how John Kline, owner of Kline Brothers, helped out a family he had never met before.

“I cried tears of joy as I watched truck after truck coming with supplies to regrade the backyard. He went above and beyond anything we could have imagined. They graded, built a retaining wall, laid mulch, and landscaped with flowers and grass seed. Vinnie and Edward of Kline Brothers worked long hours for over a week to give my family a perfect place for us to enjoy.”

Other contributors included Bed Bath & Beyond of Manahawkin; Ray’s Pizza of Manahawkin; DJ John Mazzella of Barnegat; Tiffany Worthy and family; and everyone who helped clear the yard of trees and brush.

For more information on Make-A-Wish New Jersey, visit nj.wish.org.

— Ava Ruff

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