Children's Wish Foundation to grant over 60 wishes in 2013
© Nathan Liewicki
The Children's "Wish-Mobile" stopped in Moose Jaw on Thursday. Gay Oldhaver, the Children's Wish Foundation provincial director, is going across Saskatchewan sharing the stories of local wish recipients. Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
Not every child’s wishes and dreams come true, but Saskatchewan’s Children’s Wish Foundation is trying to change that.
Now in its 29th year, the organization has granted over 900 wishes since its inception, and this year it is on pace to grant an all-time high in wishes.
“We are on track to do just over 60 wishes this year,” said Gay Oldhaver, the foundation’s provincial director.
“Those wishes go to children ages three to 17 suffering from a life-threatening illness, which has been diagnosed by their physician.”
Oldhaver was in Moose Jaw on Thursday to promote the foundation’s “Wishes & Dreams” Tour.
Our city was the second stop on her provincial tour, sharing the stories of local Wish children. Oldhaver was in Regina on Wednesday and she will be visiting Swift Current, Prince Albert, Estevan, Weyburn, Yorkton, Melfort, The Battlefords, Humboldt and Saskatoon over the course of the next two weeks.
“Wishes & Dreams is such an important opportunity for people to learn about the children receiving these wishes — to see that these are our precious kids facing life-threatening illness,” said Oldhaver.
Those wishes are granted through the financial support of Saskatchewanians.
Currently, the foundation is in the midst of its annual Wish Home Lottery. There are 22,000 tickets up for grabs and they range from $100 to $200 depending on what exactly the ticket can spawn in winnings.
This year, in particular, is a big step for the lottery.
“It’s the first time ever we have had a grand prize valued at $1 million,” said Oldhaver.
That figure is up from $750,000 a year ago. The winner of the grand prize does, however, have the option to take the prize in cash or to build a dream home anywhere in the province.
The early bird deadline is Sept. 19 and the final deadline is Oct. 3.
“Generally this can fund most of our wishes in Saskatchewan,” Oldhaver noted.
Although Disney World is still the favourite destination for kids whose wishes have been granted, there have been a host of other interesting wishes granted by the foundation.
A trip to Ireland, a trip to the 2012 London Olympics, an RV road trip from Toronto to Saskatchewan and a trip to northern Japan for a custom samurai sword are just a few of the wishes that have been granted by the foundation over the past couple of years.
More unique wishes are sure to be granted to sick kids over the coming months, but Oldhaver said it would not be possible without strong community support.
“The community of Moose Jaw itself continues to be vital in both our awareness building and our fundraising efforts,” said Oldhaver.
She also hopes to get in touch with the Moose Jaw Warriors to set up a Wish Game Night where a wish child drops the opening puck. It took place the last Western Hockey League season in Saskatoon, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Regina.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.