UPDATE: ‘Wishes Rock’ Sets RECORD – Raises THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! Make-A-Wish Radiothon celebrates 25-years!

September 12, 2019

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Update – this is AMAZING – Make-A-Wish, 97-Rock and News 4 -WIVB – with the help of this incredibly generous community – have raised $300,000 to grant wishes for children battling critical illnesses!!!

This is no surprise – this is in fact – TOTALLY BUFFALO!!!!!

For more than two decades, 97Rock and Make-A-Wish have joined forces, with support from the Buffalo community, to transform lives through the power of a wish. On the 25th year, many of the same cast of characters can be found along side many new ones.

You’ll see former 97 Rock Personality –  Larry Norton. He has a heart of gold and has been doing this since the beginning.

Larry Norton alongside Tracy Gray and Rob Ray


You’ll see awesome big-hearted 97 Rock Personalities – Morning Bull – Rich Gaenzler, Rob Lederman, Chris Klein, JP, Jickster and many others.



All folks you probably know about.

You’ll also see Mike DiFonzo. He’s been answering phones at the radiothon for the past 8 years. Today, he left the house around 4 a.m. to pick up donuts on his way to the studio set up at the Eastern Hills Mall. Why does he volunteer his time to this cause? I asked him. “Just to give back. Really that’s it. I have been very blessed in my life. I’ve worked with kids so to give back to kids – it’s great. Just great. My thing is that I never really say no when it comes to the kids.”

Mike handles the auction line. He picks up the phone and talks to the caller like they’re an old friend – and sometimes they are. Mike says many of the bidders call year after year. It’s a special thing – for folks on both end of the line.

This year, WIVB is also taking part and broadcasting live from the studio at the mall. With their help – this year could be the best ever. Make-A-Wish folks tell me they’re hoping to raise $200,000 this year. Last year they raised $120,000.

You’ll also see other volunteers who come year after year. They know the power of a wish. The power that comes with that puppy dog, vacation or celebrity meeting. It’s so much more than a puppy dog, vacation or celebrity meeting. It’s proof that people care. It’s a chance at some normalcy, forgetting their illness for a time, being with family, making memories, building trust, holding onto hope – and so much more.

19-year old Lucy knows.

Lucy is a wish kid. A few years ago she wished to bake with a Victoria’s Secret Supermodel. It was an amazing experience for the teen who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was in high school. She said her wish helped her deal with her illness, gave her hope and something to look forward to. “It helped get back to life after cancer. It was so awesome. A very cool experience.”


These children are fighting for the life. They deserve the world. Make-A-Wish gives them hope and time with their family without doctors and treatments.

But it takes a village to get these wishes to come true. It takes a generous and loving community – like ours right here in Buffalo and WNY. The radiothon continues until Friday morning at 10 am. You can call and make a pledge and a difference. Every dollar goes to the kids. Look at those faces, those smiles – if everyone gave just a few dollars – all of their wishes could come true.  Call 716-587-8500 and make your donation. If it’s after Friday the 13th of September – you can go to wny.wish.org




A few facts about Make-A-Wish:

About 77 percent of wish experiences involve travel.

The Walt Disney Company is involved in approximately half of the wishes Make-A-Wish grants.

Make-A-Wish has nearly 40,000 volunteers in the United States.

A child can be referred by a parent or guardian, a healthcare professional, or by the child.

Every wish experience is driven by the wish kid’s interests, creativity and personality.

Make-A-Wish grants a wish, on average, every 34 minutes.

According to Make-a-Wish, any child between the ages of 2½ and 18 who has a “life-threatening medical condition” is eligible for the program. … A big misconception about Make-a-Wish is that the organization grants wishes only to children with terminal illnesses.

Professional wrestler John Cena holds the title for the most wishes granted by a single individual, with over 600 wishes. Singer Justin Bieber has volunteered in over 250 wishes.









About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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