Beatrice D., 92, Kearny, NJ

Beatrice Dybus, who passed away January 28, 2019, was posthumously honored by having her wish to receive an honorary college degree from New Jersey City University granted, thanks to our New Jersey.  Beatrice, 92, attended Jersey City State College (now known as New Jersey City University) in the 1970s where she was pursing a degree in English with a minor in literature which was a lifelong dream of hers.  At the time, she was married with seven children.  Because her husband was a veteran, they received veterans’ benefits that enabled her to attend college. Sadly, in her last semester, her husband passed away. Upon his death, the benefits were terminated since his death was not due to war or military reasons, but due to natural circumstances, Beatrice was forced to drop out of college and never completed her degree. Before her wish could be granted, she passed away suddenly in late January 2019.  Her grandson, Christian Hoffman who is also a graduate of NJCU, will accept her much-deserved honorary degree on her behalf.   Presenting her honorary degree will be Sue Henderson, President, NJCU, and Guillermo de Veyga, Chief of Staff, NJCU. Pictured is Beatrice with some of her family members.

Jane K., 62, Linden, NJ

Jane Koza, a resident of Delaire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Linden, New Jersey, recently had her wish to see her beloved Yankees play granted, thanks our New Jersey chapter.

Koza, 62, played competitive basketball and softball for her high school alma mater, Mother Seton High School in Clark, New Jersey. At the age of 47, Koza learned she would need knee surgery to repair torn cartilage.  During surgery, she contracted MRSA, a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. A second surgery for a total knee replacement caused Koza to slip into a coma and an infection traveled through her spine and left her with transverse myelitis, a rare neuro-immune disorder that resulted in paralysis from the chest down. Recently, due to the chronic infection in her knee, her leg was amputated above the knee.

Despite all her medical issues, Koza remains optimistic and is very active in her facility. She has been a resident of Delaire for over 12 years and has served as Resident Council President for the past eight years. She advocates for the other residents and has spearheaded fundraisers to purchase a new bingo machine, bowling league equipment and prizes for bingo and parties at the facility. Her wish to see the Yankees play for her 60th birthday was granted on September 15, 2018. Koza and her friend received the royal treatment from the Yankees: getting a backstage tour of the stadium, receiving a bag of Yankees’ souvenirs, getting a chance to wear a World Series ring, and getting upgraded seats between home plate and third base. Special thanks to the Yankees for making her wish so memorable and to All Med Transportation for donating the transportation.

Sue C., 97, Clark, NJ

Sue Criscitiello, 97, a resident of Clark Nursing and Rehabilitation in Clark, NJ, had her wish to have lunch at Red Lobster and visit the Newark Museum granted, thanks to our New Jersey chapter. Sue worked for New Jersey Bell in Newark and Elizabeth for over 42 years and often went to the theater and museums on the weekends during that time. Now that she is older and lives in a facility, she doesn’t have the opportunity to do either. Sue and her friend enjoyed a seafood lunch at Red Lobster and then toured the museum. Special thanks to the Newark Museum for donating the tickets and to On-Time Transporation for donating the cost of transportation.

Catherine G., 66, Clark, NJ

Catherine Green, 66, a resident of Clark Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Clark, New Jersey, had her wish to visit the Bronx Zoo granted, thanks to Our New Jersey chapter.  Catherine’s passion is spending time with horses and other animals. As a teenager, she worked with and rode horses. One of her favorite things to do now is drawing animals from photographs.  Catherine was nominated by the administrator of her facility, Gary Santo who wrote that she is a very special resident who is kind and loving to all who meet her. Before moving into the facility, Catherine was very involved in her church, Holy Trinity, and worked in the rectory there.  Her wish came true on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 when she visited the Bronx Zoo with her former neighbor and volunteer at her facility, Joan Brennan.

Marion R., 78, Perth Amboy, NJ

Marion Rosa, 78, had her wish to see Jersey Boys on Broadway granted, thanks to our New Jersey chapter. Marion was involved in the theater for many years. Even after becoming ill and moving into an elder care facility, she is involved in the drama club there.  In addtion, she helps put together craft projects, bakes and helps out with sales for the Resident Council. Marion is currently the recording secretary of the Resident Council there. Her wish was granted on December 14th when she and a companion enjoyed Jersey Boys on Broadway!

Elsie W., 86, Vauxhall, NJ

Elsie Williams, a resident of South Mountain Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Vauxhall, New Jersey, is having her wish to learn how to read granted. Williams, 86, enjoys looking at magazines in her room, but cannot read them. She wishes to learn how to read so that she can enjoy books and magazines and participate in more activities in her nursing facility. This simple wish for something that most people take for granted will open up the world for Williams. Thanks to volunteer tutor Cheryl Ricei, Williams’ wish to learn how to read is being granted!

Ernest L., 75, East Orange, NJ

Ernest Lopez, 74, and his wife are both disabled and live in an assisted living facility in East Orange, New Jersey. Lopez is a talented artist, but wishes to improve his drawing skills by taking classes at Arts Unbound, a special art program for people with disabilities.  His goal is to become a better artist so that his art can be exhibited.  His wish to take art lessons was granted thanks to the generosity of the students of University of Nevada, Reno and several other donors.

Louise C., 81, West Orange, NJ

Louise Cassidy, 81, a resident of Summit Ridge Center in West Orange, New Jersey, had her wish to work with a Girl Scout troop on a badge granted on Friday, April 25, 2014.  Cassidy taught elementary school at St. Rose Catholic School in Newark for over 23 years.  She also volunteered for eight years as a den mother for St. Rose’s Cub Scout troop.  Having spent a lifetime around children, Cassidy now misses the time participating in their emotional growth and development and would like to again be involved with children.  Twilight Wish arranged for Cassidy to help the members of Pleasantdale Junior Girl Scout Troop #20274 work on their “Playing the Past” badge.  Each troop member researched a period in time and shared it with the group with a poster and historically-correct paper doll.  During the third and final troop meeting at Summit Ridge Center, troop members, their parents and Cassidy shared refreshments and learned about each Girl Scout’s period in time.

Bill M., 76, Linden, NJ

Bill Manhardt, 75, had his wish for a barbecue with entertainment at his nursing facility granted on Thursday, September 12th.  Manhardt, a longtime resident of Delaire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Linden, NJ, is well known in the community for his patriotism and dedication to others. He is an elected member of the Union County Democratic Committee, a life member of the John Dawson Gilmary Shea Assembly of the Knights of Columbus where he has been Patriotic Chairman for over 20 years, and is a Notary Public. In addition, he is a member of the Moose Lodge in Linden, the Elizabeth-Linden Elks Lodge, and a lifetime member of the NRA. Despite his limited mobility and reliance on a wheelchair, Manhardt regularly hands out patriotic flyers he designs and prints himself at the shopping center across from his nursing facility. His wish was granted, thanks to the generosity of several donors.  Manhardt is pictured with his nominator and volunteer advocate, Jean Seals. 

George F., 68, West Orange, NJ

George Fania, 68, recently had his wish to return to an Amusements of America carnival granted, thanks to Twilight Wish Foundation.  Fania, a resident of Summit Ridge Center in West Orange, spent over 40 years of his life working as an electrician, with many of them spent with Amusements of America, working on traveling carnival rides and machinery.  He was forced to retire due to back issues, but misses work, his co-workers and former boss, Morris Vivona very much.  Fania faithfully reads Carnival Magazine to stay abreast of the industry, but still misses that part of his life.

Fania’s volunteer advocate at his nursing facility, Audrey Larsen, submitted the wish application on his behalf.  Throughout his life, Fania gave back to his community, often donating his services to those less fortunate.  He was also a Scout Master with the Boy Scouts for many years. His wish to revisit an Amusements of America traveling carnival was granted on June 18, 2013 when he was transported from his nursing facility to the St. Gregory the Great carnival in Hamilton Square, NJ.  Fania spent the day with several former co-workers, including former boss, Vivona.  Special thanks to Lifestar who donated the transportation of Fania to and from the carnival.

According to Larsen, who attended the wish granting, Fania was overwhelmed by the event.  “They (his former co-workers) were unbelievable; they spent the entire day with him,” said Larsen. “George was overjoyed to re-connect with his career and co-workers and hopes to maintain connections with his carnival family.”  Pictured: George Fania, seated.  Standing, from left: Karl Jackson and Morris Vivona, Sr.