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Humble Whitestone CEO makes dreams come true

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From his corporate office at Kinray Inc., Stewart Rahr, president and chief executive officer of the Whitestone-based pharmaceutical company, gave Aaron his wish without ever meeting him.This contribution, one of several Rahr plans to make through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New York, illustrates the kindness that can make suffering from a life-threatening illness a tiny bit easier."Our wishes average about $6,000 a wish," Make-A-Wish spokeswoman Patricia Gambale said. "With the number of children that come to us each year, Mr. Rahr has offered to sponsor one wish per month for the rest of the year."Rahr declined to be interviewed about his contributions.A Nassau county boy, Min Soo, who wished to take his entire family to Paris, was also a recipient of Rahr's generosity. His dream came true last year.Gambale said the wishes are generally categorized into four groupings: "I want to go," "I want to have something," "I want to meet," and "I want to be."Rahr has been on the advisory board of the New York branch of the foundation for more than three years. A father, whose son is also involved in the organization, he has sponsored events at Shea Stadium and Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor.One fund-raiser, held in honor of Rahr's father, wound up garnering $100,000 for the organization.Since he has been contributing to the organization, the foundation estimates he has donated nearly $400,000 in dreams for children.To qualify for a wish, a child must suffer from a life-threatening illness.Gambale said there she has seen some pretty unique wishes in her time working for the foundation.One child, a 5-year-old named Simon, wanted to go to a NASCAR race and say, "Gentleman, start your engines."Not only did he get to do it, but he also spent the day with racecar driver Jeff Gordon.An 11-year-old named Rhonda wanted to be a model."She spent the day, she took a limousine ride to a studio, she had her make-up done, she had her nails done, they dressed her and she appeared in Elle Girl Magazine," Gambale said.Those interested in donating to the organization can find them on the Web at www.metrony.wish.org.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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