‘Loved every second’: Make-A-Wish grants 4-year-old Astoria girl’s request to meet her favorite animals while fighting cancer

Make-A-Wish provides Astoria 4-year-old Lydia Yeisley a brief respite in her ongoing battle against rare eye cancer. (Photos courtesy of the Yeisley family)

The Make-A-Wish Foundation provided a magical morning for a little girl from Astoria who has fought cancer for half of her short life.

The nonprofit has become one of the most beloved charities in the nation by granting a wish for a child with a critical illness every 34 minutes, and 4-year-old Lydia Yeisley had her chance to smile a while this summer.

The youngster’s medical odyssey began when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in July 2020 and she has since endured countless rounds of chemotherapy and eye surgery. Lydia’s wish was to meet giraffes “at their house,” and she imagined visiting and perhaps touching the giraffes, as well as elephants, penguins, tigers and ducks.

Lydia’s wish was granted in August with the support of national partner BuzzRx. She and her parents visited Animal Adventure Park in upstate Harpursville, where she enjoyed a personal behind-the-scenes tour and visit to the giraffe house. The trip also included a stay at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, where she got to run around in the fresh air while taking in campground activities.

“Thanks for granting my wish, BuzzRx,” Lydia said. “I had so much fun feeding the giraffes and camping.”

Her mother Natasha Moskowitz said Lydia enjoyed her adventure.

“She had a private tour and was able to ask many questions about all the different animals,” she said. “We were able to meet a sloth named Puppy, an armadillo named Armondo, wash some tortoises and meet and feed giraffes as long as she wished. It was an amazing time and Lydia had such a great time.”

(Photo courtesy of the Yeisley family)
(Photo courtesy of the Yeisley family)

BuzzRx is a provider of free prescription discount cards benefiting nonprofits year round. Earlier this year, it reached a milestone of donating $6 million to Make-A-Wish, which equates to 600 life-changing wishes for children battling critical illness.

“The entire BuzzRx team is beyond thrilled to help grant Lydia’s wish in celebration of this donation milestone,” Buzz Rx Co-founder and CEO Matt Herfield said. “We consider granting wishes vital work in the communities we serve and are incredibly grateful for our eight-year-long partnership with Make-A-Wish, which could make this special day possible for Lydia.”

BuzzRx donates a dollar every time someone uses its free prescription discount card benefiting Make-A-Wish at no cost to the cardholder. Donations stay in the communities where the card was used to help grant wishes locally.

“It’s been proven that granting wishes gives wish kids the strength and optimism they need to continue to persevere against challenging critical illnesses,” Herfield said.

Make-A-Wish America president and CEO Richard Davis said the donation milestone by BuzzRx will have a large impact on the organization’s mission.

“Generous individuals and corporate partners fund our wish pipeline entirely,” Davis said. “Like Lydia, children battling a critical illness face physical and mental distress. A wish has a long-lasting impact — providing hope and giving these children a piece of their childhood back when they need it most.”

Lydia’s mom was grateful for the brief respite.

“We had an amazing time,” Moscowitz said. “We cannot thank Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York enough for granting Lydia this amazing wish. She loved getting to meet so many different animals at the adventure park and was super excited about the water park at the campground. We are so grateful for the opportunity. Lydia loved every second of it.”

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