SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) –— Jackson Birchler, 6, of Marcellus thought he was headed to Macy’s just to write a letter to Santa. The firetruck escort wasn’t enough of a tip-off that he had something much more exciting in-store.
Birchler is the recipient of the 4th wish that the Macy’s at Destiny U.S.A has been able to grant. They’ve been doing this for the last four years as the start of their ‘Believe’ Campaign. The campaign will run through Christmas Eve, and Macy’s will donate one dollar to Make-A-Wish of Central New York for every in-store or online letter someone writes to Santa.
Since 2003, Macy’s has donated over $120 million to the non-profit. They’ve helped grant nearly 15,000 wishes too. According to Diane Kuppermann, CEO of the Make-A-Wish CNY, the chapter has granted 2,000 wishes since its inception in 1985. They currently have 90 pending wishes, and enough budget for 69 of those to be granted this year.
While Jackson’s wish was just one of the almost 70 that Make-A-Wish CNY will grant this year, it was the right fit to kick off Macy’s ‘Believe’ Campaign because the Birchlers’ are a ‘publicity eligible family.’ Jackson’s mom, Caitlyn, says that the support from the Marcellus community has been immense.
“You saw the people here tonight,” Birchler said. “That was mostly my older daughter’s friends, she started crying when she found out everyone was here. She had no idea.”
Caitlyn was the one member of the family that knew what tonight’s event was all about. She told Jackson and his dad that they were going to the fire station and going to get a ride to the store to write a letter to Santa. She said going to Hawaii was always one of her wishes too, and that she was excited when she heard Jackson wanted the same thing.
“He wanted to see some sharks, a volcano and be on a big boat,” Birchler said.
Before Jackson’s diagnosis of Leukemia, they had gone on a family trip to Disney that Jackson didn’t love. Caitlyn said that a trip like this seemed to make more sense for her family.
After tonight’s event, Caitlyn says the plan is to try to find some normalcy again.
“We’re just trying to get back to normal if there is a new normal after cancer,” Birchler said.
The details of the Hawaii trip as of right now are unplanning, but the family hopes to make the trip in the new year.