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Jericho HS Alum Grants Wishes At Sea

Jericho High School alum and Brookville native Sean Tolkin has made five wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions, by running 26.2 miles—in the middle of the ocean.

Tolkin, business development director at World Travel Holdings, ran a marathon onboard the Norwegian Breakaway ship on October 5 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raised nearly $50,000.

“Given that 75 percent of wishes involve travel,” said Tolkin, “the marathon at sea idea was born.”

Last year, Make-A-Wish sent more than 1,000 children on cruises as part of their wishes.

“Cruises are one of the more popular travel wishes,” said David Williams, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish America.

During the time it took Tolkin to run the 26.2 miles, or 210 laps around the track, the ship traveled 74 nautical miles. A trained marathon runner, Tolkin’s goal was to raise $26,200 — $1,000 per mile, an amount he nearly doubled.

Hundreds of onlookers cheered on Tolkin during each lap, with several of his colleagues joining him for each mile.

“I am beyond thrilled with the outpouring of support I received from my colleagues, friends, family and passengers leading up to and on board Norwegian Breakaway this week,” said Tolkin. “This marathon blended my love of the travel industry with my passion for running all in the name of a good cause, to benefit our signature charity, Make-A-Wish.”

According to a 2011 study of “Wish” impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family.

With the help of donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 226,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org for more information.