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The Red Storm Joins Make-A-Wish to Fulfill a Child’s Dream

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

To celebrate the completion of his Hodgkin’s lymphoma chemotherapy treatments, 12-year-old Joseph Isola dreamed of having a basketball court in his backyard—a wish that was granted by Make-A-Wish Suffolk County.

When the court was unveiled on June 27, Isola also was treated to a surprise visit from Steve Lavin, St. John’s University’s men’s basketball head coach, along with the Red Storm cheer and dance teams and the SJU mascot, Johnny Thunderbird.

Over 200 guests joined Isola at his home in Stony Brook, NY, to celebrate the court’s unveiling. "It was awesome," he said of meeting Coach Lavin and everyone from St. John’s. "I was really surprised to see them. I'm so happy."

Tony Isola, Joseph’s father, explained that although his son knew the court was being constructed, the visit from the SJU group was unexpected. "This was something our family never dreamed of happening,” he said. “We'll never forget it."

Lavin said it was an honor for St. John's to participate in the Make-A-Wish experience. “Joe is a courageous individual with an indomitable spirit and a contagious zeal for living life to its fullest," he said. "We can all learn from the strong example he sets in how to better navigate adversity. Celebrating his big day with his family, friends, and fans will be an everlasting memory."

"Today, we truly shared the power of a wish with the community and everyone who came together to make Joe's wish come true," said Karine Hollander, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Suffolk County, NY.

Isola’s basketball court was donated and constructed by Make-A-Wish Suffolk County board member, Gary Duff, of Gary Duff Designs.