Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hofstra Students Grant Young Girl Dream Pet

The following was written by a Hofstra Student who, through her time with Adopt a Dream (a charitable club run by students that grants wishes to terminally ill children), was able to fulfill a young girl's dream of owning a pet pig.

In January, prior to the start of the semester, I contacted Michele Vernon of Sunrise Day Camp (75 Colonial Springs Road Wheatley Heights, NY 11798) for a candidate for Adopt a Dream during Spring 2012. She presented us with three candidates; from whom we chose a wonderful young girl, Cassandra Steinle. Unfortunately Cassandra has lung failure and only 15% lung capacity. Michele told me that her dream was to have a pet pig and at first all of our reactions were the same: "A pet pig? REALLY?" Turns out it was a very legitimate dream. After speaking both with Eleanore Steinle (Cassandra's mother) and Cassandra herself, we got an idea of what we wanted to do.

Cassandra happily greets her new pet.
One thing that makes Adopt a Dream so unique when compared to other organizations, is that we take the time to bond and get to know our dreamers. We never just hand over a check; we personalize each and every dream to include the dreamer, his/her family and the Adopt a Dream members. In March we had a breakfast in the Student Center with Cassandra, Eleanore, John Sr. (her father) and John Jr. (her brother) as our honored guests. At this breakfast we presented Cassandra with a one-of-a-kind hot pink wheelchair that members of Adopt a Dream personally designed and assembled weeks earlier - we call it the "Cassandra-Mobile" as embroidered on the back of the chair. After breakfast, a stretch limo transported the Steinles to the Museum of Natural History where they joined Adopt a Dreamers already present at the museum. Later that same day we went across Central Park to the Zoo where we saw peacocks, monkeys and polar bears (oh my!). All the excitement wasn't over yet: you can't go a full day without a celebratory dinner! Espresso Cafe at 1135 1st Avenue New York was able to provide a private dining room for the Steinles and 18 Adopt a Dreamers for a delicious dinner. The Steinles got to relax and think about the wonderful day they had in a limo ride back to Hofstra, but this was just part 1 of Adopt a Dream's journey with Cassandra.

Everyone did their utmost to ensure Cassandra's dream came true!
April 28th Hofstra hosted Relay for Life whereat Cassandra in her pink wheelchair was not only Adopt a Dream's guest of honor, but Relay for Life's guest of honor as well. To start off the night Eleanore and Cassandra were interviewed on WPIX; then Dwayne Lindsey (Adopt a Dream's Public Relations Chairperson) lead the Survivor Lap while pushing Cassandra; singing groups even came up and sang specifically for Cassandra. Earlier in the semester, Adopt a Dream hosted a Zumba event in order to raise money for Cassandra's dream, and we had a flash mob to advertise for it. We performed that flash mob dance at Relay and got about 50 people involved in it. This night was magical for Cassandra and her family as they got to see all the people that care for and about them.

Cassandra's Dream was to have a pet pig and we didn't fall short. Three weeks after the semester ended, a bunch of members went back to Hofstra where we finally presented Cassandra and her family with "Oinkles Skittles" -- a mini pot belly pig. She flew here all the way from Minnesota from Misti Rose Farm. The smile on Cassandra's face when she laid eyes on Oinkles could light up the sky. Her smile is the reason Adopt a Dream does all we can, for children like Cassandra. Along with her pig we presented her with our signature "DREAM" block. The day was quite successful and left us all feeling incredibly elated.

Written by: Alexandra Engelson, Hofstra Student and Club President of Adopt A Dream

1 comment:

  1. The students who comprise Adopt a Dream are amazing as is their advisor, Pat. We are forever grateful for having Cassandra's dream granted. Oinkles is a great addition to the family and makes Cassandra very happy. The best part was the opportunity to bond with this great group of young adults. Every adopt a dreamer is a credit to their parents and to Hofstra. I am honored to consider them all our friends and am anxious to follow them as they graduate and continue to do great things in and for the world around them. Eleanore Steinle (Cassandra's Mom)