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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – A UNCW student is beating the odds one day at a time. Now, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, paying for his freshman year of college is one less thing to worry about.

Sorority girls, pizza, and endless chatter. This is college life for Peter Castagno.

“Oh, it’s awesome. I love college. So much better than high school,” Castagno said.

High school wasn’t easy. Instead of being a typical teen, Castagno was battling T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.

“I was diagnosed my sophomore year of high school and finished chemo halfway through my senior year,” Castagno explained.

During his course of treatment, Castagno was hospitalized and needed transfusions. That’s why the Make-A-Wish foundation threw a party on campus to grant the teen one wish.

“Most wishes are travel related, ” said Janice Netherland, with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern NC.
“They want to go to Disney World, or swim with dolphins or something like that. This is a unique wish. I think Peter wanted to play a role in his own education. He’s really excited about that.”

Instead of traveling, Castagno wanted the foundation to pay for his freshman year.

“I just decided, that way I wouldn’t have a bunch of student loans and everything. This is definitely just extremely helpful to have them help pay for college,” Castagno remarked.

Castagno’s mother is thrilled with her son’s progress. He’s been in remission for eight months and now is embarking on a new journey at UNCW as a freshman who is living up to the college’s theme.

“It’s Dare to Soar, which I think is kind of fitting for him because he’s a pretty brave guy and he really wants to move forward and do an awful lot of things,” said Peter’s mom, Molly McKeown.

Castagno plans to major in International Relations and eventually do a lot of traveling.

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