Make-A-Wish grants Madison County teen’s wish at RIT MAGIC Center

Pictured back row (from left) are Andy Phelps, MAGIC Director; Jennifer Hinton, MAGIC Assistant Director; Jim Ockenden; Lou Diorio, MAGIC Co-op student; and Cristopher Sochacki, MAGIC Co-op student. Seated in front row (from left) are Wish Kid Riley Zabele and Dr. Christopher Egert, MAGIC Associate Director.

14-year- old Riley was surprised with a custom-built, high-end gaming computer

Fourteen-year- old Riley Zabele loves video games, especially interactive games that involve design. When the Madison County teen, who has a brain tumor, was offered a wish through Make-A- Wish Central New York, he knew exactly what he wanted: a high-end gaming computer with all the bells and whistles.

Riley’s wish came true Saturday when he was driven an hour and 45 minutes from his home to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Make-A- Wish and RIT staff awaited him at the Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) Center. Following a tour of MAGIC’s facilities, Riley’s new computer system was unveiled.

MAGIC staff invited Riley to place the final touches on the custom machine built by Director Andy Phelps and Assistant Director Chris Egert. They then enjoyed a lunch break, during which time Riley opened several gifts donated by “friends of MAGIC,” including Vicarious Visions, Bungie, Re-Logic, Microsoft and Valve. Waiting for Riley at home was a brand new video game chair and desk for his computer.

After lunch with Make-A- Wish and MAGIC staff, Riley and his family were driven to The Strong National Museum of Play, where they got to visit the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Make-A- Wish is dedicated to granting the special wishes of kids like Riley, who face life-threatening medical conditions. Since Make-A- Wish Central New York’s inception in 1985, more than 1,700 wishes have been granted throughout its 15-county region, which includes Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

Riley’s wish was made possible through the assistance of RIT’s MAGIC Center, and the support of Make-A- Wish Western New York, which serves 17 counties in the Western New York region of New York state.

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