Granting sick kids' wishes through lottery ticket sales

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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For sick children, sometimes it’s the little things, such as one special trip, that make the biggest difference.

Gay Oldhaver, the provincial chapter director for the Saskatchewan Children's Wish Foundation, was in Moose Jaw on Aug. 7, 2014 in the Children's "Wish-Mobile" for the Wishes & Dreams Tour to promote the foundation's Million Dollar Lottery.

“One of our wish children said, ‘You know, the week in Disneyworld was like a week without cancer,’ and I think that says it all,” said Gay Oldhaver, the provincial chapter director for the Saskatchewan Children's Wish Foundation.

“Even if it’s a moment without cancer, then that’s how we make our difference. We can’t cure. We can’t make better, but we certainly can make a difference for that wish child, be it a moment, a day or a week.”

She stopped in Moose Jaw on Thursday for the foundation’s Wishes & Dreams Tour. The tour is used to promote the Children’s Wish Foundation Million Dollar Lottery.

She said all lottery proceeds stay in Saskatchewan to grant wishes of children between the ages of three and 17 with life-threatening illnesses. The child and the family have five years to take the wish.

More than 100 kids in Saskatchewan have been approved. Last year, the foundation granted an all-time high of 70 wishes.

This year, the lottery early bird deadline is Aug. 21. The early bird draw gives people a choice between an SUV, truck or cash. The ticket structure is different this year as well. Now people have an option to buy packs.

The grand prize is $1 million. There are a number of booster prizes available as well. People can buy tickets for the lottery until Aug. 28. This is the first year the lottery hasn’t run in September because other lotteries start up at the end of August and beginning of September. This choice was made to avoid competing for people’s attention.

Wishes can include all manner of things. Some examples include a home theatre, a gaming computer, a dog and trips to places such as Disneyworld, Hawaii or the Bahamas.

“We just recently did a Super Mario theatre production so a live Super Mario game where we actually had actors and a set designed to bring the game to actual life for a little guy who was very, very ill at the time and wasn’t able to participate in any other kinds of wish. So we had to bring the wish to him,“ said Oldhaver.

“Right now we’ve got a young child in Moose Jaw who’s just in the thralls of making his decision where he’s going to go. He’s kind of leaning towards Disneyworld right now.”

She added when granting these wishes, it’s always important to remember how much it means to the child and the family.

“I’ve been in these situations where you’re taking a big screen TV and a laptop or something to a child who is critically ill and not going to make it and you feel, ‘Is this it? Is this all I can do?” said Oldhaver. “You have to get past that and say, ‘Yeah that is all I can do but that is the best thing I can do right now’ and for that moment, that child can enjoy and give us a smile.”

To order tickets, call 1-800-661-WISH (9474) or visit wishlottery.ca.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Wish Foundation, Saskatchewan Children, Super Mario theatre

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Hawaii Bahamas

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