Huntersville business owner Peggy Sevigny has wanted to pay it forward since her daughter beat lymphoma.Stephanie Sevigny was 15 when she was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2002. She and her mom lived near Boston at the time, and it took three years, multiple treatments and a full bone-marrow transplant to get Stephanie into remission, Sevigny said.During a three-month hospitalization, Stephanie was given a trip to Florida by the Boston-area chapter of The Make-A-Wish Foundation – an act, Sevigny said, that played a crucial role in Stephanie’s recovery. Sevigny said Stephanie wished for a trip to Walt Disney World, and the organization sent their whole family to Disney and other theme parks like Sea World and Universal Studios for a week in December 2004.“It was during her marrow transplant that she got the brochures, she started focusing on planning the trip,” said Sevigny. “She ended up with less (apprehension) about the transplant. (It) helped her state of mind and recovery. I knew what it did for her and watching the joy in her face during one of the biggest fights of her life,” said Sevigny.“(Make-A-Wish) gives them hope and a reason to dream. I just think it’s wonderful to see such a program that can really change a child’s life by giving them an opportunity to think about something else beside their illness.”Stephanie, now 25, has been in remission nine years. The Queens University graduate is a nurse in oncology and cardiology. “I can’t imagine a better nurse who can relate having gone through it herself,” said Sevigny. “There are a lot of good success stories, and (Make-A-Wish has) touched my heart so much. We have a lot to celebrate every day.”Sevigny said she has the chance to thank the foundation that helped her daughter. Sevigny opened Timeless Treasures by Design, a Huntersville store that features refurbished antique furniture and home décor items, five months ago. Through the end of the December, Sevigny said, she will donate 25 percent of every sale to the local Make-A-Wish chapter. “My goal is $2,000,” she said. During “A Huntersville Christmas” festival on Dec. 8, Sevigny raffled a brand-new, 6-foot Uttermost floor clock for $245, which will also go to the nonprofit.“We know what Make-A-Wish can do and the passion behind it. It had a lot to do with her recovery,” said Sevigny. “With her being my little hero, I want to give back what everyone gave us and pay it forward.”Lisa Nowak, director of development of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina, said she met Sevigny through a mutual friend. Like all nonprofits, Nowak said, Make-A-Wish can always use the help. “We’re honored she’s doing this to support us and our chapter,” said Nowak. Nowak said while they rely on the local community for finances, those funds stay in the community to help make local children’s wishes come true. “We get more than 25 referrals a month and oversee 50 counties,” said Nowak. “We’ve never turned away an eligible wish (but) the average cost of one wish is $6,000. It adds up so quick.”Stephanie Sevigny said she’s thrilled her mother is able to give back to Make-A-Wish. “It’s so important for cancer kids to escape that diagnosis and that label. I think it’s really important to keep organizations like that going.”Nowak said one common misconception about the program is that children must have a terminal illness to have their wish granted. Any child with a life-threatening illness can make a wish request, she said. Nowak estimated there are about seven children in Huntersville who have life-threatening diseases. “About 50 percent of the children are terminal and do pass on. But for the others, it is an uplifting experience to them. A wish can bring stress down and add joy and strength to their life. It really is a must-have.”Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain pulled the winning raffle ticket for the clock Dec. 8 and said knowing the Sevignys’ story is compelling. “She has a heart and a mission, and she is dedicated to helping others,” said Swain. “To me, this is the whole reason for the holidays, to do what we can for other people.”
Friday, Dec. 14, 2012
Woman helps charity that helped her daughter
Make-A-Wish a crucial part of Huntersville teen’s recovery
Want to go? Timeless Treasures by Design will donate 25 percent of every sale made through the end of December to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. The store is at 101 S. Old Statesville Road, Suite A, Huntersville. (Next door to Lupie’s and across the street from Town Hall.) Details: 704-654-1264. To donate directly to Make-A-Wish: 704-339-0334.