A junior at Old Bridge High School, along with a fifth grader from Southwood Elementary School, are teaming up this holiday season, collecting letters for Make-A-Wish through Macy’s BELIEVE campaign to help the organization that creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
AJ Silvestri, with the help of his supporters from the Old Bridge Township schools, other NJ communities, and countries outside the US, has collected more than 500,000 letters since 2014. Each year, he, along with family and friends, drops off boxes spilling over with letters on National Believe Day, at Macy’s in the Brunswick Square Mall, East Brunswick.
This year Silvestri, along with co-leader Jillian Bresocnik, will spearhead an effort to collect letters via the following link:
Once again, these letters play a significant role in helping Macy’s and Make-A-Wish reach their $1 million National Believe Day goal. This year marks the 13th annual BELIEVE campaign between Macy’s and Make-A-Wish.
From now through Dec. 24, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for each letter received, up to $1 million, to help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. During Believe Week, Nov. 29 through Dec. 5, Macy’s will donate $2 for every letter received.
With support from the Macy’s Believe campaign, Make-A-Wish provides children with critical illnesses the chance to experience life beyond their illness and see their most heartfelt wish come true, allowing them to replace fear with confidence, anxiety with hope, and sadness with joy.
Jillian and her sister, Kendall, were among AJ’s biggest supporters. The Bresocnik family wrote and collected more than 15,000 letters over the past several years.
Last spring, seven-year-old Kendall was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. During her brief but fierce battle with the disease, Kendall was granted a wish from the foundation to build a swimming pool in her parent’s backyard. Those, who knew Kendall, remember the perpetual smile on her face, along with her love for rainbows and unicorns.
According to the Silvestri family, the members will be honoring the memory of Kendall in this year’s campaign, “Believe in Unicorns”.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also granted a wish eight years ago to Silvestri, who has Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic, progressive and life limiting genetic disease that affects specifically AJ’s lungs and gastrointestinal system, according to his mother Kerryann S. Silvestri.
He and his family had the opportunity to take a trip, one week after Superstorm Sandy, when they met the cast of the History Channel show "Pawn Stars" and watched them film a segment with AJ's favorite personality, Chum Lee. They also met the cast from the show "American Restoration”.
Please share this video on social media and remember there is no limit to the number of letters you can submit.