Since 2010, when Drayton Valley hosted its first Wishmaker Walk for Wishes, community support of The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada has continued to blossom. On April 26, 2012, the community once again showed support of epic proportions for Drayton Valley’s inaugural Lighting up Lives Gala. Organized by committee members Irene Baraniuk, Joy Dempsey, Judy Gaudet, Julie Shewchuk and Rhonda Wasylowich, the Gala exceeded all expectations and raised an astounding $180,000 to help make dreams come true for children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses.
In addition to grace said by MLA Diana McQueen and an address from Mayor Moe Hamdon, guests were treated to presentations from several wish families, providing a glimpse into the journey these families face when dealing with a sick child. Darcy Lee, his ‘gamma’ Sherry, and Mom Nikki shared their inspirational wish experience to bring their family close together during a difficult time. Darcy wanted nothing more than to have his grandparents relocate to P.E.I and Children’s Wish facilitated the move. In listening to the wish families’ stories, guests understood how truly important their support is to bringing hope to families whose lives have been wrought by devastating illness.
Proceeds of the event will allow Children’s Wish to grant nearly 20 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses from the community and beyond. In addition to ticket sales, a live and silent auction, auctioneer Danny Hooper circled the room collecting donations, which totaled $23,000; helping top off the evening’s already astonishing total. Associate Director for the Children’s Wish Foundation, AB & NWT Chapter, Anna Carr shares, “I cannot believe the generosity of this community and never have I seen such a significant display of community support. Their efforts motivate us to continue ensuring that our wish families receive the best possible wish experience. These funds also help to ensure we will never deny an eligible child their most heart felt wish.”
A sincere thank you to the Drayton Valley Lighting up Lives Committee, the Drayton Valley Community Foundation, and all those who supported this year’s event. Just as the winter solstice marks the return of light into our days, a wish come true helps children and their families emerge from the darkness wrought by devastating illness. Your support has profound impact – brighter days rekindle hope. Together we are lighting up lives!
Pictured above are wish recipient Darcy Lee, committee members Irene Baraniuk and Judy Gaudet and Danny Hooper.