Did you know that for a child and family living with a life-threatening illness, normal means frequent trips to the emergency department, numerous missed days at school and at work, and constant bouts of pain and anxiety? Every moment, every day is like a precious gift for critically ill children and their families, who live with so much uncertainty.
Love to plan? Children’s Wish is excited to announce our DIY Fundraising platform where event organizers can create their own fundraising pages to support our foundation!
Help continue to grant the heartfelt wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses by organizing a fundraising event in your community. From sports tournaments and auctions to bake sales and dress down days at workplaces across the country, Children’s Wish events raise money that goes directly towards making the dream of a child with a life-threatening illness come true.
Volunteering and give the gift of you to Children’s Wish
Children’s Wish was founded 30 years ago to bring a light of hope into the lives of these families. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Children’s Wish has never had to turn down a request from a child. But to ensure we can continue to make every wish come true, and to make it possible for us to help even more children and families, we need your help.
Help us bring the magic of happiness and healing to children, families and communities across Canada. Become a Children’s Wish volunteer today and join a dedicated, nationwide network of more than 20,000 Canadians who give their time and skills to help create moments of hope for children with serious conditions.
Our volunteers make a difference by pitching in at special events, providing support in our offices, coordinating fundraisers, and representing Children’s Wish in the community. They work hard and learn new skills while enjoying the camaraderie of other volunteers, Children’s Wish staff and Wish families.
Select your chapter to find volunteer opportunities in your area today
What better way to honour the life of a family member or friend?
Create a long lasting legacy. Talk to your financial advisor and Children’s Wish today about making a planned gift to the foundation, such as a bequest (Sample Bequest), charitable gift annuity, life insurance, charitable remainder trust, marketable securities (Gift of Securities), RRSP or RRIF. Email: email@example.com
The Children’s Wish More Wishes, More Wonders Campaign will grant an additional 200 wishes over the next 18 months to our new wish children. To help grant these wishes, we have launched the More Wishes, More Wonders Campaign, and have a projected $10 million goal by 2021.
Dr. Jeremy Friedman, associate Paediatrician-in-Chief at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and part of the Children’s Wish Medical Advisory Committee, speaks on the impact of these complex care children’s wishes (click on the image to view).
A carefully considered gift
Laurie and Rick Hopkinson from Saskatoon, apply the same skill and passion to philanthropy that they bring to their business, Dynamic Glass & Door Ltd. “We set goals, we are very purposeful and we take nothing for granted,” says Laurie.
Rick and Laurie first made a gift of $25,000 to the Saskatchewan chapter of Children’s Wish after conducting the necessary “due diligence.” They did research, asked questions and requested to meet with directors to gauge each organization’s accountability. After that inaugural gift, they pledged another very significant amount. They continue to be active as volunteers and ambassadors for Children’s Wish.
When asked why they decided to align their philanthropic goals with children, Rick says, “I just wanted to see kids’ wishes come true in the same way that our dreams have come true.”
When thinking of Mateo, 7, diagnosed with leukemia and, Steven, 13, who has lymphoma, two boys they have helped directly, Laurie said, “These kids seem to handle disease much differently than an adult because they haven’t lived long enough to know how bad things can get. I think that we can learn a lot from them in terms of our own priorities,” says Laurie.
A tragedy turns into a legacy
Julie Hamilton has been supporting Children’s Wish for many years and truly understands the power of a wish. When her daughter Maggie was diagnosed with a brain tumour, they were granted a Wish trip to the Caribbean. Tragically, months after returning from their wish trip, Tim was killed in a workplace accident.
Since then, Julie has turned tragedy into a commitment to making a difference. In lieu of a fee for her workplace safety presentations, Julie requests that monies be donated to Children’s Wish.
The Tim Hamilton Endowment, has been in existence for over 13 years, accumulating nearly $650,000. These gifts have translated to a significant legacy of wish granting that will forever benefit deserving children.
In 2009, Julie joined the Advisory Board with the Alberta Chapter, in an effort to expand upon her support. That same year, Julie also joined “Wish Ambassadors”, a select group of wish moms who provide advice to chapter staff on wish granting policy and practices while also serving as public speakers at events throughout the year.
Rose Rudko, builder and philanthropist
Paul and Rose Rudko owned and operated Rudrose Construction for many years, building homes in Winnipeg, as well as shopping centres around the city.
After Paul’s death, Rose gave generously to many organizations, including The Children’s Wish Foundation, Manitoba and Nunavut Chapter.
Children’s Wish has been the beneficiary of nearly $1 million from Rose, with $725,000 in donations over a 5 year period, and an additional $216,000 most recently from her estate. Rose is the single, highest individual donor in Children’s Wish history.
Rose was a gentle and compassionate woman who cared about the community she lived in and, especially for the well-being of children. She would visit the Chapter often and spread humour and joy in the stories and life experiences she shared.
Rose has since passed away, but her memory and legacy will live on in the many that loved her and those who continue to benefit from her gracious generosity and the special experience of many wishes granted.
Jack Attack Pays it Forward
Two years ago, Jack was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). While his prognosis now is very good – he’s been given a 95% chance of survival – his treatment is grueling. Between constant blood tests, chemotherapy, and a spinal tap every 3 months, Jack, now 7, is in constant pain that requires physiotherapy.
You’d think when Jack was eligible for a wish from Children’s Wish, he’d choose to treat himself to something spectacular. Instead, all he wanted to do was pay it forward! Jack teamed up with Children’s Wish supporter Sam Struan and his Exile Island tribe, “Jack Attack”, and set out to raise the $10,000 average cost of a wish. Exile Island is our survivor-style challenge to fundraise for pending wishes – all in one day!
The story was covered by VanCity Buzz, and the reaction was instantaneous – the team reached their fundraising goal in less than 24 hours! But Jack isn’t stopping there, and as his story continues to spread, so does his excitement at being able to help grant wishes for other deserving children!
We’re growing at Children’s Wish – granting new wishes
The Children’s Wish Foundation has always been the leader in wish granting in Canada. In 2010, we moved from an illness-based criteria list to a set of High-Risk Life Threatening Principles (HRLTPs) to define the medical eligibility of children. Our objective in doing this was to allow our eligibility criteria to evolve in parallel with improvements in medicine; that year, we saw a 23% increase in wish referrals! Over the last 2-3 years though, having seen a flat-lining in our referrals, our Board and Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) initiated discussions on broadening our criteria.
We considered a variety of approaches and looked closely at how quality of life issues might impact our wish granting criteria; discussions centered around reaching those most in need, which led us to expand our HRLTP #3 to include children with severe Cerebral Palsy and severe metabolic or genetic conditions. These conditions represent an emerging population who may not have survived 10-20 years ago. Advancements in medicine mean that these kids are now surviving, but are left with incredible challenges to their health and quality of life.
The MAC estimated that including these children might mean an annual increase of 100-200 wishes. Based on early results, we are right on track, and we’re thrilled to provide the incredible gift of a wish to these deserving kids. Over 120 such kids have been approved for a wish to date! The MAC will continue to assess this and other potential illness areas so that CWF can continue to grow to reach deserving children. Please join us as in our More Wishes, More Wonders Campaign, focussed on the additional fundraising needed for these new children’s wishes.
Wishes in the Air
Paula's 10 year-old son Brandon was granted a wish in 2013, and since then Paula has been highly involved with The Children's Wish Foundation in Newfoundland. She organized her first Children’s Wish Wishmaker Walk last year, raising over $6000!
Brandon was born prematurely at just 27 weeks, weighing two pounds and four ounces. Within a few days of his birth, doctors noticed hemorrhaging on his brain, and as a result, Brandon was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. He spent a total of 102 days in the ICU, and has since endured a number of extensive surgeries.
Brandon's wish was to meet John Cena, and he got to go to WWE WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans! Brandon ended up meeting over 30 wrestlers!
Last year, Brandon penned "Wishes in the Air". It highlights his positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life.
A wish that leads to a career
In 2010, Chef Michael Smith gratefully agreed to fulfill a wish from then 14 year-old Hunter. Hunter has cystic fibrosis, an often fatal lung condition, and his wish was to meet and cook with Chef Michael.
The two hung out together, shopped for food and picked vegetables from the garden as if they were old friends. It only further fueled Hunter’s passion for cooking and after high school, he enrolled at the Culinary Institute in Charlottetown. During his schooling, Hunter and Chef Michael kept in close contact, with Chef Michael helping out with school projects and attending his graduation this past May.
Chef Michael was so impressed that he recently hired Hunter to work for him at his new restaurant in Fortune, named Fireworks, “Hunter is an amazing cook. I’m proud to have him on my team.’’ A huge congratulations to Hunter and his achievements!
Give Kids The World, one of the happiest places on earth
Each year, Children’s Wish receives many requests from children wishing to visit the theme parks in Central Florida. Our Wish children often stay at a special resort called Give Kids The World Village, which is filled with 144 villas, an enchanted Carousel, and magical entertainment venues. Families receive special visits from Village ‘royalty’, Santa, and characters from the theme parks. The entire resort was built specifically for Wish children and their families – the perfect escape from the battles these families face every day. The best part is that there’s all day ice cream in the Ice Cream Palace!
More than 2000 Wish kids and their families have stayed at Give Kids The World over a 7 year partnership with Children’s Wish. Caroline Schumacher, Vice President of Operations, says, “Children’s Wish is much more than an strategic partner, we are partners in wishes. GKTW Village feels honored to have the trust of Children’s Wish that we will do everything in our power to fulfill all the magic and wonder that is promised in the wish-granting process. We are committed to providing the perfect experience for each family. We are grateful to Children’s Wish for this continued partnership.”
Patrick, father of Michael, 9, said, “Everybody had the time of their lives in Florida, and created memories that will stay with all of them forever!”
Blue Cross, valued partner and provider of peace of mind
Blue Cross has been providing travel and medical coverage for our Wish families for the last 26 years, and is one of Children’s Wish’s most valued partners. Not only are the families covered, but any medical attendants or translators needed also receive insurance. This professional support greatly contributes to our families’ peace of mind when they embark on their wish trip.
Wish families know that should anything related to travel or medical emergencies happen during their wish trip, Blue Cross is there to support them while they are away from home.
So far, Blue Cross has provided coverage for nearly 12,000 of our Wish kids and their families over almost 3 decades.
“We are extremely thankful for Blue Cross. Having that peace of mind was the glue that held all of the amazing pieces of the puzzle together. Without it, Maya's wish of going to visit Disney would not have happened.”
— Daniel, Maya’s father
L to R: Mary Szunyik, Val Yuzik, Laura Roberts, Kathy Richard
One wish turns into two!
Robyn was only 5 weeks old when she needed to have open-heart surgery to repair one of her two congenital heart defects. For the next 6 years, Robyn would require medication 2 to 3 times daily and continued medical care with regular visits, tests and monitoring of her heart rhythm.
After a successful procedure to repair her arrhythmia, Robyn was finally ready to go on her Wish trip to Disney World in Florida and to take her big sister Rebecca to the Bibbity Bobbity Beautique.
As part of their trip, the family also visited Sea World, where Rebecca had her own ‘wish’ come true when she met and fed a dolphin named Jack!
Robyn is now an active and busy 11 year old who loves to figure skate, dance, draw, write, ski, and fish. She loves to cook and bake cookies with her mom too! Her Wish trip has left a lasting and deep impact in her life; now she even enjoys fundraising for Children’s Wish Foundation, donating over $550 to date!
A wish family gives back
At only 7 weeks old, Phoenix Borrowman was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, and had multiple cardiac arrests in her first few months of life until a heart donor was found.
Having personally experienced the power of a wish, Phoenix’s parents were eager to help with another child’s wish. Together with their Almonte Home Furniture employees, the Borrowmans met with another wish child and developed a plan to reflect his love for movies and video games. The big reveal came just before his 10th birthday. While he was at school, the staff from Almonte Home Furniture furnished his ultimate games room. His new room had gaming chairs, a Stanley Cup popcorn machine, and an XBOX; not a single detail was missed. The team truly captured this wish child’s unique personality and his room has become something that he can enjoy with his family and friends for years to come.
How a morning coffee can inspire the gift of wishes
A few months ago, a good friend of the BC & Yukon Chapter was enjoying a morning coffee at a popular Vancouver coffee shop. In the frenzy of bumping elbows and eager customers, she struck up a conversation with another customer. The conversation turned to Children’s Wish and a new friend was found.
This brief exchange over coffee has since led to meetings between a local RBC Dominion Securities Branch and Children’s Wish staff. Just a few months later, a gift of $5,000 from the RBC Foundation has been received, thanks to this new coffee shop friend.
In addition to securing this significant gift from the RBC Foundation, this special individual has also committed to help share our expanded wish granting to now include children with serious neurological and genetic disorders, like severe cerebral palsy, and to additionally support in raising funds needed.
He will be launching a luncheon with RBC Dominion Securities to inspire colleagues to also support the joy of wish granting.
National Bank Employees lend their support
For more than 30 years, Children’s Wish has worked tirelessly to grant heartfelt wishes to more than 22,000 children and their families, 7,000 of who are in Québec.
To encourage their employees to volunteer, the bank created a program where for every hour an employee gives towards a community cause, National Bank would donate $1 to a charity devoted to children’s well-being, selected through an internal survey. This year, the Children’s Wish Foundation was chosen. The result: employees volunteered 100,000 hours of their time, raising $100,000 for Children’s Wish. Thanks to the National Bank Volunteer Program, Children’s Wish can continue to bring the magic of a Wish to Canadian children and families who need it most.
From left to right: Marie-Andrée Farmer, Advisor - Philanthropy activities, Renée Delisle, Élizabeth’s mother, Lise-Anne Amyot, Vice-President – Brand and Client Experience, Élizabeth Morin, Rémy Morin, Élizabeth’s father, Jonathan Prunier, Manager - Donations and sponsorships, Juli Meilleur, Director of the Children's Wish Foundation for Quebec, and Raphaël Morin, Élizabeth’s brother.
Each fall, generous corporate entities compete at Exile Island,widely considered Newfoundland & Labrador’s most exciting pledge-based fundraiser. It’s a mix of the ancient concept of island banishment with the excitement of the reality show Survivor and its challenges. This team-building event is a highly successful and completely unique experience. Corporate tribes of 5are paired with a Wish Child with the challenge of raising a minimum of $10,000to grant that child’swish.
Caitlin Spinney and Janine Brown have decided to embrace a challenge of their own! Inspired to give to a Wish Child, they’ve put down a challenge to their social network to join their team. It’s a new twist and concept in the Exile team building process. They hope to have their 5 member team in place by the day of the event, September 25th.
“I am so excited to be participating in Exile Island this year”, says Janine. “It isan incredible opportunity to help wishes comes true for very special children while having a blast with co-workers and friends. I am looking forward to an exciting adventure and to giving our wish child her ultimate Disney dream come true!”
Caitlin adds, “Exile Island is an excellent opportunity to get involved withthe Children’s Wish Foundation in a fun and interactive way. I believe every child deserves to have their wishes come true, and to get to experience everything life has to offer so what better way to help children’s wishes come true than by making memories of your own with co-workers and friends!”
Myah’s Mission: kids granting kids wishes
For 11-year-old Myah, the holiday spirit came early and moved her in an incredible way. It was over breakfast one October morning last year when Myah announced to her family she wanted to waive Christmas gifts and grant a wish to a child with a life-threatening illness. What a mature idea – a kid granting another kid a wish.
“Myah’s Mission” was launched October 2014 with a flurry of social media activity and a dedicated website launched by Children’s Wish. A family skate, bracelet sale and a host of public appearances by Myah caught the attention of her community, business owners and public officials. She sent a message to Paradise Mayor, Dan Bobbett, “I hope that you’re supporting Myah’s Mission… and I hope that soon we can have a community skate at the new arena. So, thank you for building that.” she wrote, exuding confidence of someone much older.
Lisa, Myah’s mom, suggested, “I really believe that when people sense a generous spirit, especially from a child, that people tend to want to do the right thing. And the response has been overwhelming.”
The donations flowed in steadily. Myah’s Mission caught the attention of Cabot Ford owner, Trevor Clarke. Mr. Clarke was so inspired by the passion and creativity expressed by this young lady, he matched her fundraising efforts on behalf of his dealership, bringing in a total of $20,000 for Myah’s Mission. A 10-year-old named Kaylee, currently in treatment with a brain tumor, will have her dream to swim with dolphins realized because of Myah.
Myah’s on a new mission this year to raise another $20,000 by December.
Retirees get wishes granted too
Dawn Thomas is a resident of the Rockcliffe Retirement Residence. This past year, a select group of residents were provided the opportunity to have their wish granted by the parent company of their residences. Some chose to tour special places, arriving by rickshaw, others chose to meet war heroes past and present.
Dawn chose to pay it forward and raise funds to grant the wish of local area child. After dance-a-thons, ice-cream socials and the generosity of her fellow residents, Dawn raised $1500 to help Gabo, a brave little boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, go to Lego Land. Dawn says she hopes that her idea of starting this initiative will continue for years to come and that they will hold an annual fundraiser for Children's Wish soon.
Wish Child Carley’s school honours her memory
Carley Ellands, a brave little girl, was affected by Cerebral Palsy and Dandy Walker Syndrome, as well as hydrocephalus, and a seizure disorder. She had her wish to visit Disney World with her family granted in 2012.
Unfortunately, on Mother’s Day of 2014, Carley passed away due to complications from her illnesses. This year, Carley would have graduated from Grade 6. The school decided in early fall to do something special to honour her memory.
A series of events took place over the course of the year, all based on Carley’s favorite things. Her favorite music, her favorite candy, her favorite colours; thoughtful care was put into all aspects. The school kept a large fundraising thermometer on the wall of their front lobby and the children watched it rise!
Carley’s twin sisters continue to attend the school and were very involved the whole year. At the end of the school year, the principal asked the family who they would like to receive the money and they chose the Children’s Wish Foundation.
At a very emotional ceremony on graduation day with Carley’s mother and twin sisters in attendance, this small school of just over 200 children presented a cheque for nearly $1500.
A perfect match with Ronald McDonald House for the Graham Slam Charity Golf Tournament
Early this spring, Children’s Wish Saskatchewan Chapter was asked partner with the Graham and Ruby DeLaet Foundation and their charity golf tournament. With a short time frame to plan and execute, we explored an opportunity to partner with one of our stakeholders, Ronald McDonald House, Saskatchewan. Over the years, many of our Wish families have stayed at Ronald McDonald House during their weeks and months of treatments, or hospital stays, with their children suffering life-threatening illnesses. We thought this partnership opportunity was a perfect match!
As it turned out, Wish Child Clara stayed at the House in Saskatoon over 120 nights while receiving treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Clara and her mom, Corine, were at the Graham Slam Charity Golf Tournament on July 9th, sharing their story of their stays at the House; and Clara also told us she’d like to go to Disney World to see Jurassic Park!
The Ronald McDonald House “has made such a difference in our lives. The employees and volunteers treat us like family. Clara loves the girls and guys that come and play with her when we are there…you feel very cared for when you are staying at Ronald McDonald House.”
At the end of the night, Clara serenaded the crowd with a beautiful rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with singer/songwriter, Joe Horowitz. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience! It was evening to remember for folks who spent the day golfing in 35°C heat with Saskatchewan PGA Tour golfer, Graham DeLaet.
Adrienne Taylor is a Canadian country singer/songwriter who recently went to Nashville to record a song called 3,000 Words. The inspiration for her song came after Adrienne read a story about a young girl who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and passed away shortly after her 13th birthday (To read the full story click here). Adrienne was so touched by her stories. Adrienne’s cousin Natasha had been diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was eight-years-old, and Adrienne watched as her cousin suffered through chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. Natasha was granted a wish from Children’s Wish, and her whole family got to enjoy her wish with her. Writing 3,000 words came easy for Adrienne as she had such a connection to the young girls story. The song, 3,000 Words will be released to Canadian Country Radio in early November. Adrienne is donating all of the proceeds from the iTunes Downloads to The Children’s Wish Foundation. “I feel it is such a great way for people to make a donation. It’s a small price but potentially could be huge and my goal is to raise money so other children can have their wish come true,” Adrienne said. Preview Adrienne’s song 3,000 Wordshere.
Major Donor Dave Lacey - Lending Leadership and Dollars
Dave Lacey, CEO of Brookfield Real Property Solutions, father, husband, executive, racecar driver and philanthropist has been happy to lend “leadership and dollars” to Children’s Wish for 25 years now, serving on the National and Ontario Boards and as a driving force behind several fundraising initiatives. Lacey has led what many would see as an adventurous and accomplished life, since moving from South Africa to Canada at 12. “My parents arrived with absolutely nothing; my dad is a self-made man who rose to become a top executive. Canada has been extremely good to us and I was raised with a strong sense of philanthropy,” says Lacey. Lacey, now 46, was introduced to Children’s Wish in his mid-twenties through Jeff Pabst, who helped create the Children’s Wish Ride-A-Long, a unique day of racing and exotic cars for wish children at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that has raised $450,000 to date. Additionally, the Lacey family managed Doncaster Foundation has donated an astounding $150,000 over the years. “Children’s Wish has a clear mandate, granting wishes to children across Canada with life threatening illnesses. It allows us to see the journey of the child and their family and the direct impact of the wish,” Lacey says. Lacey’s involvement with Children’s Wish continues to evolve as his personal life continues to change as well. “Becoming a father has certainly changed the way I live my life. Being involved with Children’s Wish is very grounding. Every person can give back in some way. Children’s Wish needs your help.”
Going the distance for Children’s Wish
To raise $370,000 for Children’s Wish, the eight cyclists of Team Xstrata pedaled over 4,800 kilometres to cross the finish line as part of Race Across America, one of the world’s longest running endurance sport events. Team captain Shaun Usmar, Chief Financial Officer of Xstrata, a leading global diversified mining company, says it’s the children struggling with life-threatening illnesses who are the true heroes. “They are the ones that set the example for strength, fortitude and endurance,” he says. “They are our heroes.”