Philly’s ‘Wishmaker’ spreads hope at New York Fashion Week

Philadelphia’s Wishmaker Simonetta Lein continued her mission of granting people’s deepest wishes this week by bringing a local cancer survivor to an elite runway for a fashion show.

“After you go through cancer, it’s really beneficial to have purposes, to have goals,” said Lein, an Italian transplant to Philly who works as a fashion designer, model and writer. “This is really for her a dream come true, being in Fashion Week.”

Lein is also founder of the Wishwall Foundation, which sets up walls where people can pin their wishes, and she works to make wishes come true.

After setting up a Wishwall in South Philly during Pope Francis’ visit for the World Meeting of Families, she granted the wish of the family of Thersa Pozzi, who died in an unsolved hit-and-run. Lein got the Pozzis’ street renamed for Theresa, and helped secure a billboard over the scene of the accident asking drivers for more information.

Ahead of her stint modeling at two shows on Wednesday at New York Fashion Week for Art Heart Fashion and FNL Network, she decided to grant another wish by bringing along Gloria Del Piano, a cancer survivor who lives in Germantown, where she owns a bed and breakfast.

“It’s really exciting because I have been in fashion for 30 years,” Del Piano said. “Now we’re on our way to New York. I’ve never been in Fashion Week.”

Del Piano said she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, and after an operation in July, she decided against radiation treatment and instead focus on making her diet more healthy. A recent doctor’s visit found her to be cancer free, she said.

“Happiness was the cure, because I put happiness in my heart,” she said. “I just want to live day by day, and every day, have something happy happen, to always have a smile on my face.”

Lein said she was just pleased that while modeling clothes by Odair Design and Liviara that she also got to wear two hats and accomplish something for her work as “Wishmaker.”

“This is really for her a dream come true, being in Fashion Week, going back to her life,” Lein said.

To learn about Lein’s Wishwall Foundation and her work as Wishmaker, visit