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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.

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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

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