The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada continues to bring smiles to children and their families across the province.
“We grant wishes to children age three-to-17,” said Gay Oldhaver, Chapter Director with the Foundation, adding those children must be facing life threatening illnesses, or be receiving high risk treatments in order to qualify. “… It’s strictly by the diagnosis.”
Oldhaver said the high risk treatment aspect is something not everyone recognizes. She said it can be things such as “depending on technology to stay alive,” pointing to something like a defibrillator.
It can also be long term conditions such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and some levels of cerebral palsy.
Oldhaver also noted “there’s no criteria that the illness needs to be terminal.”
As a general goal Oldhaver said “about a wish per week,” is granted in Saskatchewan, adding this year they are ahead of that pace, and are likely to hit 60 by year’s end.
In total the Foundation is closing in on 1000 wishes granted in the 29 years a chapter has been in Saskatchewan.
The wishes are diverse, each tailored to suit the desire of the child.
While Disney Land is the most popular destination for wishes, Oldhaver said they have sent children, and their families to Ireland, and one to Japan “to meet a sword-maker.
“And last summer we sent a teenager to London, England.”
The trip to London was to fulfill a dream to be in the audience and meet those involved with the automotive show ‘Top Gear’.
Another youth and their family were flown to San Francisco for Comicon.
Not all wishes are for trips though. Many are gift wishes, said Oldhaver.
“Camper trailers are very popular,” she said, noting a camper was given to a youngster in Yorkton some years ago. “He still uses it to this day, and he’s 26.”
Horses are also common. Less so cows, but one youngsters wanted them. “She wanted to be like her grandpa,” said Oldhaver.
In the end Oldhaver said the Foundation attempts to match the young person’s wish “as best we can.”
To fund the wishes the Foundation relies heavily on the Children’s Wish Home Lottery.
“It accounts for about 90 per cent of what we raise,” said Oldhaver, adding “on a good year it will fund all of our wishes.”
This year, for the first time the lottery offers a $1 million dollar prize, or the building of a dream home anywhere in Saskatchewan, said Oldhaver.
Tickets can be purchases by telephone At 1-800-661-9474, or online at www.wishhomelottery2013.ca