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Four-wheeling for healing

Latham family finds a unique way to take a child’s mind off of illness

Dan Quaglieri gives a ride to a family in his RZR four-wheeler on Lake George

Dan Quaglieri gives a ride to a family in his RZR four-wheeler on Lake George

— When Dan Quaglieri was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while he was in 8th grade, all he wanted to do was get on his four-wheeler.

Spending all of his time in the hospital during the week for treatments was driving him a little stir crazy. To him, the sound of the engine of a four-wheeler meant happiness. When he asked Make-A-Wish if he could have a four-wheeler, though, he was told no. At that moment, he decided to try and make it easier for other children going through cancer and begin offering them four-wheel rides.

“When I went through Make-A-Wish and they gave me my wish, I wanted a four-wheeler to go four-wheeling, but they couldn’t give me a four-wheeler,” said Quaglieri, a resident of Latham. “That’s pretty much the stuff I live for. So when I went to Hawaii on my Make-A-Wish trip, my family and I tried to think of ways to make it so kids could go four-wheeling and enjoy themselves if that was their wish.”

His mother, Judy Quaglieri, said you forget about all of your troubles when you go out four-wheeling. Anything that went wrong at work or any worries about what bills have to be paid goes right out the window while out on the trails, she said.

So for the past four years, the Quaglieri family started the not-for-profit foundation called 4 Wheeling for Healing and has been offering families around New York State the opportunity to go four-wheeling. Even though it is Dan and his father driving the vehicles, children still are afforded the chance to forget about their illnesses and go out on the trails with them.

The length of the ride depends on the child’s ability to ride. Depending on their illness, Judy said the child will go on an hour long trip through the trails. She said even though some of the children don’t show their excitement vocally, many of them enjoy the ride.

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