First introduced into the Garden of Dreams family at 10-years-old, Jeremy is now a rising sophomore at the University of Scranton. Throughout the years, Jeremy has participated in many Garden of Dreams programs and events including performing in the annual Talent Show at Radio City, attending the Tony Awards as a guest on the red carpet, and receiving an Inspire Scholarship to help him pursue his dreams of becoming a nurse.
Check out our Q&A below with Jeremy to learn first-hand more about Jeremy and his experiences with Garden of Dreams!
Q: How old were you when you first became involved with Garden of Dreams and what is one of your earliest memories at a Garden of Dreams event?
JEREMY: I was first introduced to the Garden of Dreams Foundation at 10-years old through Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley. Growing up as an active theatre kid, I have always been passionate about acting, singing, and dancing. Performing was my coping mechanism throughout my cancer journey, allowing me to forget about my illness and just be myself. In 2013, my parents received a call from Make-A-Wish telling them that I had been nominated to audition for the Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall. I was absolutely thrilled that Make-A-Wish had thought of me for this opportunity and could not wait to audition for the Talent Show.
My earliest memory at a Garden of Dreams event was arriving at Madison Square Garden for the Talent Show auditions. I remember walking into a room of celebrities and Broadway stars who mentored each of the 48 children that auditioned. I was so fascinated by each performance that I stayed for the entirety of the auditions to cheer on other children that auditioned; 18 children from a diverse range of life experiences, from illness, to poverty, to homelessness, were selected to participate in the Talent Show. I was honored, thankful, and ecstatic to be chosen for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform my song “Put On A Happy Face” at the Showplace of the Nation. To this day, I am truly grateful for this dream of mine that was made possible because of Garden of Dreams. It means the world to me that Garden of Dreams has continued to think of me for other events and activities. I am honored that I was asked to be featured on News 4 New York, perform at Madison Square Garden for 1,000 employees, participate in the alumni choir for the Talent Show, attend the Tony Awards, attend the Garden of Dreams Prom, attend several New York Knicks and New York Rangers games, and attend the Garden of Dreams Thanksgiving Dinner. I admire the everlasting impact Garden of Dreams has made on me and my family and will never forget the memories I have made through the foundation.
Q: What was going through your head as you stepped out onto the Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall at just 10-years old to perform “Put on a Happy Face” at the Garden of Dreams Talent Show?
JEREMY: Seeing my family and friends in the front row, hearing the audience cheer, looking out at the greatest theater in the world, and being walked out by two Rockettes is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Q: As a Garden of Dreams Scholarship recipient, how is school going now and what do you hope to do with your education in the future?
JEREMY: The Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship has made a tremendous impact on my education at the University of Scranton where I am proud to be entering my sophomore year as a nursing student. My decision to pursue nursing stems from my experience with Stage IV neuroblastoma at the age of 2 — cancer of the left adrenal gland that spread to my jaw, upper arms, and upper legs. The most profound people that surrounded me and provided comfort during my treatment were my nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. At the age of 4, I went into remission, and now as an 18-year-old, I am proud to be using my journey with cancer to become a nurse myself. I am confident that I will turn my cancer experience into a future that will not only benefit me, but the patients I will care for because of my ability to relate to and connect with them.
The Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship has given me the opportunity to receive hands-on experience and learn from top professionals at the University of Scranton. I am confident that I will be able to provide care, comfort, and assistance to others during their medical treatment because of my college’s nursing program. Additionally, I am proud to be continuing my passion for theatre at college as a member of Liva Arts Company. This past May, I performed in the ensemble of “The Wedding Singer” and I am looking forward to performing in “The Addams Family” this upcoming fall. I also served on the University of Scranton’s Student Government as a Class of 2024 senator this past school year and I am excited to advocate for my classmates again this year.
Q: What has your involvement with Garden of Dreams taught you about yourself?
JEREMY: My involvement with Garden of Dreams has taught me the importance of being a person for and with others. The foundation has shown me first-hand how much of a difference can be made by participating in acts of service to help those around me. I am inspired by the amount of hard work Garden of Dreams puts into changing the lives of children, families, and young adults like myself and for their continuous support in my endeavors. Garden of Dreams has opened doors for me to participate in life-changing experiences and reminds me that I can find value and meaning in my life by providing support to those in need.
Q: If you could give advice to your 10-year old self, what would it be and why?
JEREMY: If I could give advice to my 10-year old self, it would be to not let anyone steal your spirit. Live a life of optimism, always choose positivity, and use your experience with cancer for the greater good. I would remind myself that I was a strong, brave little boy who survived Stage IV cancer, received 7 rounds of chemotherapy, 1 surgery, 4 radiations, and 14 rounds of the 3F8 treatment, which has helped me remain in remission to this day. I am now a young adult that is inspired by my cancer journey and is motivated to help others through their traumatic experiences. A piece of advice that I would give to others is that as someone who overcame the major challenge of cancer at 2-years old, I am positive that anyone has the inner strength to do the same.