8-year-old with autism, cancer gets Make-A-Wish surprise in Camden, New Jersey

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Many compile a wish list this time of year, but very rarely does anyone get every single item on it.

On Friday, one little boy in Camden, New Jersey, got to experience that joy.

COVID-19 was not going to stop this surprise visit for 8-year-old Antonio of Camden.

"A day like today is about family, and it's about coming together, especially this time of year and the year we have all had," said Michael Dominick with Make-A-Wish New Jersey. "Our hope is that a moment like this is not just a moment, but a moment they will be able to relive over and over again."

Make-A-Wish, in partnership with Subaru and joined by the Camden County Police Department, delivered some joy and created smiles during a difficult time in our country.

Antonio, who is non-verbal autistic and has a rare form of cancer, was on the receiving end of this Make-A-Wish convoy delivery in Camden.

Antonio's mother, Rachel Mastalski, says he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.

Along with Asperger's and limited vocabulary, cancer came on April 13 of this year.

Antonio had no idea that some honorary holiday elves would deliver his online shopping spree items right to his front yard.

"What can I say? It is a blessing. It is good to have the community join together. You don't see that a lot," said his father, Luis Zayas.

For decades, thanks to the help of millions of dollars in donations, thousands of kids like Antonio who are battling critical illnesses receive a little hope.

And perhaps, for a moment, forget about their pain.

Children and others like him can laugh with joy, all made possible by one wish.

"They did this for my little boy, and I really appreciate it because our Christmas is going to be rough, you know, but thanks to Make-A-Wish, we made it," said Zayas.

Since 2011, Make-A-Wish has received a total of more than $23 million in donations through the annual December Subaru Share the Love Event.

These funds have allowed more than 2,500 children like Antonio to experience the hope that a wish provides to children with critical illnesses.
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