Two Long Island families facing dire health conditions will get a chance to see Pope Francis in Central Park Friday.
The tickets came from Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who was offered the tickets because he was a member of the state legislature.
He donated tickets to Joanne Jackson and her son Johnny of Oceanside after Kaminsky learned about a lemonade stand to benefit Johnny's fight with a cancerous brain tumor.
Kaminsky also donated three tickets to Denise Lobascio, who was told she has a prognosis of about three years while battling lung cancer. Lobascio, of East Rockaway, said she wanted to ask the pope for his blessing for her 19-year-old daughter Sammi, who has Down syndrome.
"I would love to get his blessing so I know that whatever happens to me, she'll be OK," Lobascio said. "It was a huge surprise. It's something I wanted to do, but never thought I'd have the opportunity."
Lobascio works in the East Rockaway school district superintendent's office. She is undergoing chemotherapy. She plans to bring her daughter and her twin son Vincent to Central Park.
"Even to lock eyes with him would be worth the experience," Lobascio said of the pope. "I know God's watching. He knows what I'm trying to do for my children. This came from such a higher place."
Kaminsky said, "Witnessing the joy on the Jackson and Lobascio families' faces when I gave them the tickets was priceless. I am thrilled that I was able to provide these families with the chance to have this unforgettable experience."