Fundraiser makes children’s wishes come true
Monday, Oct 15, 2012 10:58 am
Okotoks is at the tops of Canada’s wish list.
The first Okotoks Wishmakers Walk raised approximately $70,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation on Oct. 13 at Ethel Tucker Park. There were an estimated 900 participants who walked one kilometre and gave generously in order for dreams to come true for children with a life-threatening condition.
“This is the No. 1 Wishmakers Walk in Canada in terms or registrants and funds raised, community involvement and the difference it makes to the foundation,” said Laurie Bienert, spokeswoman for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
“I am completely blown away with the work that Christine and the committee has done.”
Christine Killam was inspired to organize the walk as a result of two of her three children being diagnosed with a genetic disorder which causes premature aging.
The Killams weren’t looking to raise funds for their children’s wishes, but to help other families who are coping with having children with life-threatening illnesses.
“I am overwhelmed and the kids are thrilled too,” Killam said. “The typical cost for a dream is $10,000. The Okotoks area is currently working on five wishes, so this is unbelievable.”
The walk committee’s initial hope was maybe a couple of thousand dollars and hopefully 50 people taking a stroll in the park.
Killam was never more happy to see a traffic jam than the one caused by the hundreds of walkers making their way across the Laurie Boyd pedestrian bridge on Saturday.
However, there was no irate honking or bad hand gestures in this jam up, just patience, laughter and the odd high-five as the walkers made their way across the bridge.
Many of the participants were children from various schools in the Foothills. Ecole Percy Pegler School, where Killam teaches and Ecole Beausoleil where her children go to school, were especially well represented.
The efforts from Saturday are ensuring many different kinds of wishes get fulfilled.
Sara Nowak of Okotoks gave a heartfelt speech prior to the walk about her family’s trip to Disney World in Florida, which was her son’s choice for his wish.
Sara’s own wish also came true — her son, Chance, is now healthy and was a participant in the festivities at Ethel Tucker Park.
The shy seven-year-old student at Okotoks’ Dr. Morris Gibson School said the trip to Disney World in Florida, “was fun.”
Bienert said the wishes are for children and youths between the ages of three and 17.
Other wishes include a celebrity, where the youth gets to meet one of their heroes.
The Children’s Wish Foundation recently took a teen to meet Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, with back stage passes and the whole deal. Justin Bieber is another popular choice.
“We had a request for Nickelback and they are one of the best,” Bienert said. “They are great at accommodating us and going out of their way to make the wishes come true. The celebrities are usually very accommodating.”
For more information about the Children’s Wish Foundation go to www.childrenswish.ca