Edinboro University athletes host annual Make-a-Wish game and grant dream Hawaiian vacation to young girl

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 5:10 PM
Edinboro University athletes host annual Make-a-Wish game and grant dream Hawaiian vacation to young girl by Dakota Palmer
Photo: Dakota Palmer

Seven-year-old Abigail Cornman was in for the surprise of a lifetime on Feb. 11 when Edinboro student athletes revealed her Make-A-Wish was coming true. She’s going to Hawaii.

Cornman is a Warren native whose Make-a-Wish will be granted next month, as she, her mother, her mother’s fiancé and her older sister will be traveling to Hawaii.

During halftime of the Edinboro women’s basketball game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Student Athlete Advisory Committee members brought out gifts to Cornman in preparation for her trip, including: a new suitcase, plane tickets, a stuffed dolphin, Splash Lagoon tickets, an underwater camera, a swimsuit, an embroidered towel with her name on it, and a beach tote.

“It’s a dream come true, the opportunity of a lifetime,” Cornman’s mother, Bethiny Couse, said. “She thought she wasn’t going to Hawaii and that coming to a basketball game was the wish that she got, so coming and finding out she’s going to Hawaii is even better.”

Cornman said that she is most looking forward to swimming with dolphins and that she picked Hawaii “because it’s warmer.” Erie Regional Director of Make-a-Wish Jan Stork said, “They [Edinboro University athletes] really outdo themselves every year. The dedication these student athletes have is absolutely amazing and we couldn’t do this without them; their creativity, their dedication...everything they do means the world to us.”

This wish was extra special, because Cornman’s mother’s fiancé, Jason Hale, was also granted a wish when he was young. “Make-a-Wish means the world to me because they granted me a wish when I was a kid, and to see them do that for her, it just makes me extremely happy,” said Hale.

All four members of the family are looking forward to spending time together and just being able to get away for a week.

“We’ve been in and out of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, and there were times where we would have to go for days at a time and leave my oldest at home with family and friends.

“It’s a hard journey on the whole family when someone has a disability, and we have to go drive three hours each way to get to the doctor that is helping her,” Couse said.

Stork said, “These illnesses can sometimes tear a family apart, so to be able to be brought together as a family for one week and enjoy yourself and not worry about doctors’ appointments and not worry about hospital stays, that is the true gift that they can do as a family.”

This is the fourth year Edinboro University has presented a child with their wish.

“We were very fortunate our student athletes last year raised a lot of money for Make-a-Wish. We were third in the entire country for Make-a- Wish at about $16,000,” said Edinboro University Athletic Director Bruce Baumgartner.

During the men’s basketball game halftime, athletes presented Make-a-Wish with a check for over $600,000, which is how much the NCAA’s Division II raised this past year.

Dakota Palmer can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com. 

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