Baldwinsville Teenager Receives Outdoor Gear Thanks to Make-A-Wish – Eagle News Online



BALDWINSVILLE – Fifteen year old Joseph “Joey” Ponto from Baldwinsville loves telling jokes. He also loves being around people, especially his close-knit family. Given his willing smile and positive nature, it would be easy to lose sight of what the teen went through.

But Joey has been through a lot.

Due to severe epilepsy and hydrocephalus caused by a brain cyst, Joey had to undergo 45 surgeries in his lifetime, 20 of them within a year and a half.

Fortunately, after surgery in 2018 at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, Joey’s seizures subsided. However, he continues to struggle with the cyst and the fluid that has built up.

Despite all the operations and related interventions, he left everything, said his sister Jennifer Ponto.

“Nothing seemed to bother him,” she said. “He said, ‘It’s just an operation, I’m fine.’ Then he’d come out of surgery and tell jokes. Joey makes us all better people. He just has such a great attitude. “

Although he has been able to stay out of the hospital for more than a year, the surgeries have taken their toll. Joey cannot walk alone right now. After being referred to Make-A-Wish Central New York, the teen took this reality into account and opted for outdoor gear that could give him a sense of independence and fun.

On Friday, July 30th, 2021, Make-A-Wish Central New York, with the support of Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), fulfilled Joey’s wish by presenting him with a three-wheel recumbent bike and a covered double chair.

While Joey’s family kept him inside and out of view of the backyard, staff and volunteers assembled the glider, staged the bike, and held a festive celebration in Joey’s honor.

“When we went outside he was shocked,” said Jennifer. “There was cake, pizza, and presents, but the first thing he wanted to do was sit on that swing. It was such a great experience, a lot more than we’d ever thought. We are so grateful! “

In addition to the financial support of the wish, BHG also provided a team to assemble the custom glider for Joey.

That hands-on approach is admirable and makes a huge difference, said Kate Veley, director of corporate philanthropy at Make-A-Wish Central New York.

“Both the company and its employees have consistently exceeded expectations and have worked together on our mission to make wishes come true right here in Central New York,” said Veley. “You are the epitome of a corporate partner, from swinging a hammer to designing a bedroom, and we are very grateful for your continued commitment.”

As part of a global wish fulfillment organization, Make-A-Wish Central New York was founded in 1985 and has operations in its 15 boroughs, including Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, St Lawrence, Tioga, and Tompkins. With almost 200 ongoing requests, the organization needs the support of generous partners like the BHG more than ever. For assistance or to learn more, visit or call 315-475-WISH (9474).



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