| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Make-A-Wish sends cancer patient from Mt. Pleasant on a shopping spree

Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Brandon Aller (left), 17, of Mt. Pleasant waits for his twin brother, Brent, to go on a shopping spree at Best Buy in Greensburg as part of a wish granted by the Make a Wish Foundation.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 11:56 p.m.

Brandon Aller had been saving his money to buy a laptop, but when the 17-year-old was diagnosed with cancer in September, he had to quit his job on the grounds crew at Timber Ridge Golf Course.

On Monday, he got his wish — a new laptop and other electronics — thanks to a shopping spree sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Aller, a junior at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School, chose a trip to Best Buy and dinner at Robokyo Japanese Steakhouse, both in Hempfield, for his wish. He and his family arrived at Best Buy in a black-and-gray limousine.

Aller, of Mt. Pleasant Borough, shopped with his parents, Cori Grimm, 50, and Ed Aller, 51; his twin brother, Brent Aller; and older brother, Drake Aller, 19.

Aller picked out a laptop and case, plus a 40-inch TV. He said he'd wanted a laptop to do school work.

“He had been working to save up to buy a laptop and then all this happened,” Cori Grimm said. “Because he quit working, he couldn't save up to buy these things.”

Taking the Make-A-Wish trip “feels really amazing,” he said. He later shopped at Westmoreland Mall.

Aller said he underwent surgery in September and chemotherapy in October in Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He'll find out next week if he's done with chemotherapy.

“He has had such a positive attitude through everything he's gone through,” Grimm said.

Aller, who's being home-schooled now, is involved with a group at Mt. Pleasant Church of God called “J.C. Crew,” short for “Jesus Christ Crew.” The group offers services such as yard work and repairs to people who need help, his mother said.

“His church family has been there for him to get him through,” she said.

A former West Leechburg couple who volunteer with Make-A-Wish helped to orchestrate the $2,900 shopping spree.

Stan and Emily Jerich of Champion requested to help coordinate Brandon's wish because they know his father, Ed, a longtime employee at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Through their volunteering, the couple take on the legwork of making wishes happen.

In 20 years of volunteering, the Jeriches have coordinated 220 wishes.

“It's wonderful,” Emily Jerich said. “It's like being Santa Claus at this time of year.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
  2. More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
  3. Scottdale chamber’s Community Yard Sale to be held Saturday
  4. Sewickley Twp. man who received food stamps didn’t disclose gas royalties
  5. Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal
  6. Youngwood playground found to be in violation of disability act again
  7. Unity house destroyed by fire
  8. Greensburg Police officer taking job in Harmar
  9. Unity zoning hearing board OKs addition to Adelphoi home
  10. McKeesport man ordered to trial in New Stanton hotel homicide
  11. Hole in North Huntingdon dance studio believed to be from car crash