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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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4 Comments on "Make-A-Wish Foundation pays college freshman’s tuition"

2015 years 10 months ago

Congratulations Peter. My daughter was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor 2/3 of the way through her college sophomore year. We know the sruggles to be a regular student and applaud you for what you have and will accomplish. She finished her education and is working now. Your future is bright! Keep up the good work and once again congratulations!

2015 years 10 months ago

Make a Wish is such a great organization! Cape Fear Martial Arts is sponsoring a 24 Kick-a-thon to raise money for a local child with a life threatening illness. They’re kicking for 24 hours straight. (In fact they started at 3:00 this afternoon.) They’re taking donations all night long at their school. (Corner of Market and Gordon- Behind McDonalds and BB&T) They are also selling raffle tickets for some great prizes… All money donated goes DIRECTLY to the Make a wish foundation!!!

Don O
2015 years 10 months ago

Make A Wish is great and a perfect reason to grow a mustache every November!

Good luck at UNCW Peter, and soar to graduation in few years!

Janis Netherland
2015 years 10 months ago

Thank you Marcy Cuevas, for being there to Celebrate Peter’s wish at UNCW yesterday, and for the great news coverage! It’s important to the mission of Make-A-Wish that people understand how many wishes are being granted right here in Wilmington – and WWAY is helping to share that message! Thanks again!


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