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Giovani’s wish to bring comfort to the community

Giovani wishes to give back to the Hope Lutheran Food Bank.

“ Make-A-Wish helped him discover his ability to make a difference. ”


- Yolanda, Giovani’s mom

A young girl stands outside the food bank, in the freezing rain, waiting to go inside for food for her and her family. If anyone understands what she’s going through, it’s Giovani. He also knows what he can do to make her life just a little bit better.

One year ago, sixteen-year-old Giovani was shocked to discover he had a brain tumor. Two days prior to surgery to remove the tumor, he had a stroke. What doctors initially believed was a benign primary brain tumor turned out to be glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of cancer which begins in the brain.

Giovani proceeded to have two more brain surgeries in the following year. Each time doctors were unsure if he would walk, talk, or comprehend again.

“He never complained about anything. Even after he found out about his first tumor he continued to play basketball for his school. He was so positive and continued to assure me he was okay,” says Giovani’s mom, Yolanda.

Growing up, Giovani was always a serious athlete and sports remain his biggest passion. He played both football and basketball since he was seven, but this is the first year he has been unable to play.

When it came time to deciding his wish, “I thought he would wish for football tickets or to meet a basketball player,” says Yolanda. To her surprise, Giovani didn’t wish to go somewhere, to be something, to meet someone, or to have something … he wished to give.

Giovani and his family utilized the New Hope Lutheran Church food bank in previous years. He has remained very close to the organization as a teenager, and regularly volunteered. Giovani’s wish is to give back to the food bank and help other kids and families in time of need.

And Giovani is helping to give it forward in another way, too. On Friday, December 7, join Giovani in celebrating Macy’s National Believe Day, which kicks off the Believe campaign!

The Macy’s Believe campaign has raised more than $17 million in donations to Make-A-Wish since its launch in 2008. Macy’s makes it simple for individuals to give back by writing a letter to Santa and delivering it in-store or writing it online. For every letter written, Macy’s will donate $1, up to $1 million, to Make-A-Wish!

On National Believe Day this year, we will be recognizing Giovani and his wish to give. Giovani has always been very shy, and a year ago, would have never agreed to participate in an event where the spotlight is on him.

“After his surgery, Giovani said he felt like he had changed and had a voice. Make-A-Wish helped him discover his ability to make a difference,” says Yolanda.

Giovani is wishing to give it forward. You too, can give it forward this holiday season, by delivering your letter to Santa to your local Macy’s Believe station or send a letter online at macys.com/believe.

Every letter written brings Make-A-Wish closer to our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child!

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