Wishes granted for lucky families in Foxwoods holiday program

Analise Williams, right, 1, of Taftville, attempts to keep up with her 5-year-old brother Kylin Williams, 5, of Taftville, as he test drives the new bicycle he received through the Foxwoods Holiday Wishes program Monday in the prefunction area of the Premier Ballroom at Foxwoods. The children attended the event with mother Amanda Williams.

As part of the inaugural "Foxwoods Holiday Wishes" program, the casino gave gifts on the wish lists of 11 families and individuals from Massachusetts to New York at a low-key event outside the Premier Ballroom Monday morning.

Among the recipients was the Bickham family of Ledyard - single mother Amy, 36, and her five children: Damon, 17; Alexis, 15; Jaiden, 12; Mason, 10 and Aniyah, 8.

As the children accepted their gifts from 107.7 radio host Miss L, clad in a Santa hat, they thanked her in unison for an Xbox 360 video game console and Visa gift cards for $100 each.

Bickham's mother, Susan Weber, submitted these wish list items on behalf of her daughter and grandchildren, who were selected from a pool of hundreds of requests from the region. Bickham, who does medical billing for a Groton doctor's office, working part time to get home before her children do from school, also brought along her grandmother to the event.

Weber's nomination said that her daughter "devotes all her time in raising her children to be respectful, responsible, courteous, and loving."

"She deserved some extra help with her holiday season," Weber said.

Bickham said her children will spend their gift certificates at their shopping venues of choice - Aniyah was particularly excited to purchase a Zoomer, a robotic dog, from Toys R Us, who she said will outperform the family's actual dog in the art of rolling over. The Xbox was chosen so that all five siblings across nine years can play as family.

Dale Wolbrink, a spokesperson for Foxwoods Resort Casino, said this new tradition tied in with the return of the family-oriented ice rink and "winter patio," which had its grand opening earlier this month and will remain open through February.

a.isaacs@theday.com

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