Do 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.
Help us keep making life-changing wishes come true 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 seriously ill child come true.
You can help by 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 4,000 Canadians who give their time and skills to help create moments of hope for children with serious conditions.
Become a Children’s Wish volunteer today
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Lea Legge, RN works as a Pediatric Cardiology Nurse for the Variety Heart Centre and has been involved with the Children’s Wish Foundation for nearly 20 years, referring hundreds of children for wishes.
As a Board Member, Lea became more deeply involved with the wish granting process by proactively communicating to the medical community the appropriate procedures to ensure each and every eligible child is referred to Children’s Wish. Having taken the initiative, Lea has become one of our key referral sources, not only with the children suffering from cardiac complications, but our liaison to other referral sources within the medical community, including other nurses, social workers and physicians.
Not only has Lea participated in wishes, she has also taken an active part in fundraising. She volunteers with various projects and promotes ticket sales and sponsorship for events in her community. And when she can, she travels to Edmonton or Toronto with her patients for heart surgery.
To date, Lea has made over 500 referrals to The Manitoba & Nunavut Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation. Thank you so much Lea for all your contributions and hard work to help grant children’s wishes!
Giving back with WOD for Wishes
What an inspirational day at the 2nd annual Work Out of the Day (WOD) for Wishes event hosted by Fundy Cross Fit Saturday, June 13th! Last year, Rob participated as a dad; this year, he has come back to participate as a Wish Dad.
Only a few months prior to the event, Wish Child Claire, 7, and her family had the time of their life on a Land and Sea Disney Cruise. Wish Dad Rob felt compelled not only to participate again this year, but also delivered what could only be described as a heartfelt story of how the Children’s Wish Foundation has touched their lives.
Along with 60 other participants, Wish Dad Rob took part in a strenuous workout, knowing that every bead of sweat and repetition was making a difference for another child like his daughter, Claire.
With the whole room radiating with motivation, WOD for Wishes well exceeded their goal and raised over $8500 for the Children’s Wish New Brunswick Chapter.
ScotiaMcleod Downtown Wishmaker Mini Putt
On Saturday, June 13th, Moncton area businesses converted their offices and storefronts into an amazing, fun and interactive mini putt course for the Annual ScotiaMcleodDowntown Wishmaker Mini Putt.
Over 80 participants got creative by trading in their usual corporate attire for quirky themed outfits, and setting out for a day filled with fun. This year, the uniquely fashioned event raised over $17,000 for Children’s Wish.
A few weeks later, ScotiaMcLeod visited the Saint John Children’s Wish office and really had a chance to see how they’ve made a difference by presenting Wish Child Caeleigh with her much anticipated New York Wish Trip. Caeleigh and her family were overjoyed and expressed their gratitude for corporate leaders like ScotiaMcleod who make an opportunity of a lifetime come true for Wish Families like theirs.
Team Building in its purest form
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.
Wish Dad Gives Back - HMCS Charlottetown Run for Wishes
HMCS Charlottetown conducted its 13th annual “Run For Wishes” campaign in PEI from June 29th to July 5th, 2015. “Run For Wishes” is a charitable effort centered around a volunteer relay run across PEI. It was initiated in 2003 by members of the ship’s company to raise funds for a worthwhile cause in the ships namesake province. Thanks to the enthusiasm and support from Islanders, the event has grown significantly in visibility, volunteerism and success. To date, HMCS Charlottetown has raised $375,000 for this cause.
One team member, Sub.-Lt. Adam Vaters, from Lawrencetown, N.S., knows all too well the power and impact of a wish granted. His son, Brayden was granted his wish of a backyard playground last year. Brayden was born with an immune-deficiency syndrome and received a bone marrow transplant at just four months old. His illness prevents him from playing in public because germs could prove to be life-threatening. The playground has allowed him to enjoy playing outside in a less risky environment.
Adam remembers the day Brayden’s wish was granted like it was yesterday.
“To see the look on his face, I mean, I guess I can’t really put it into words for you, but it was … it was amazing.”
Taking part in “Run For Wishes” was an incredible opportunity for Adam to give back and help grant wishes for other deserving children.
“I feel very proud doing this and I hope many children here on Prince Edward Island can benefit the way that my son did,” said Adam.
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.
In August of 2009, Steven complained of a sore shoulder. The family thought it was just a dirt biking injury but after 2 weeks without improvement, his doctor ordered some bloodwork. Steven was found to have an aggressive cancer called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
Steven wanted to let his family know that they would weather the storm of his illness together and he wished for a camper trailer.
“Sometimes people are driven apart by this in a family,” explained his mom Carey, “Something like this wish is that little thing that can bring people back together and remind them how important family is. Steven would say ‘when I feel better, we’ll be able to go camping together.’ Sick kids need that light at the end of the tunnel.”
In July of 2010, Steven and his family had their first trip in their new Children’s Wish camper to Waskesiu Lake. Steven dealt with a tough year of chemotherapy and surgeries. Since his last treatment, he has been cancer free, and just graduated high school last year. He is now working as a lineman apprentice. What a great story of how Wishes Can Work Wonders!
After being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2011, Michael’s world came to a screeching halt. He endured an amputation of his lower leg and aggressive chemotherapy treatments. With so much of his time spent in the hospital, Michael needed something positive to focus on. The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada wanted to lift his spirits and, following his valiant fight against cancer, granted his wish to go on an Alaskan cruise with his family. The wish, with his parents and two brothers, was one of the most memorable weeks of their lives. It was an opportunity for the family to put the difficult medical journey behind them and celebrate Michael’s healing and his future. Since his wish, Michael has been living each day to the fullest. He has taken up wakeboarding, camping, skating, kayaking with friends and exploring the wilderness with his camera. Michael was honoured with The Cornell Award from Scouts Canada, the highest award given in Scouting, for his courage and endurance under extreme conditions, and was awarded the Michael Canovale Award for Model of Hope at his high school graduation. Michael has been accepted to all the colleges he applied to and will be studying to be a commercial airline pilot.
Congratulations Michael on all your many accomplishments!
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. If you would like to preview Adrienne’s song 3,000 Words click here.
Five-years-old Conor’s wish was for his very own tree house. When Conor was three-years-old he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Shortly after his diagnosis, Conor was granted his wish. The Royal Canadian Mint teamed up with Conor during Exile Island Winnipeg to create Team “Minting for Conor”. The team raised over $10,000, making Conor’s wish a reality. After a summer of planning, Conor’s tree house was ready to be built. Design-Built is the company that built Conor’s tree house. “We are over the moon with Conor’s tree house. He has had so many friends over to play and it has been a huge hit with kids and parents alike,” said Conor’s mom, Morgon. Conor has started kindergarten, and is following successful treatments, and could not be more happy with his wish.
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.”
Twelve corporate teams from the Trois-Rivières region took part in the Tournée gourmande sponsored by La Fernandière, an important Children’s Wish partner. The teams, each made up of eight participants, attended an upscale dinner served in four different gastronomic restaurants. Each of them offered its speciality dish with a glass of selected wine. Every team was also transported on board luxurious limousines where delicious treats were also served. A total of $12,000 was raised for Children’s Wish through this event. More precisely, the gift will allow the Foundation to grant Ariane, a child from the Trois-Rivières area, to be granted her most heartfelt wish: going on a Disney cruise with her whole family!
Jocelyne and Claude Giguère
Recipient of the Laura Cole Award
The Children’s Wish Foundation honours Jocelyne and Claude Giguère this year with the Laura Cole Volunteer of the Year award. For Jocelyne and Claude, volunteering at Children’s Wish began as a tribute to their daughter, Marjorie. More than 20 years ago, Marjorie had her wish granted, and through that unforgettable experience, Jocelyne and Claude have demonstrated unwavering commitment and enthusiasm for Children’s Wish. Because of their personal experience as wish parents, Jocelyne and Claude are able to quickly establish rapport and trust with wish families. Their efforts have led to more than 400 wishes and thousands of dollars raised for wish children and their families. Thank you, Jocelyne and Claude, for your generosity and lifelong commitment to Children’s Wish.
Canada Cycles For Kids
Cycling across Canada for Wishes
In 2002, Marc Balevi and Rob Fetherstonhaugh, combined their love of cycling and their passion for helping children, and created Canada Cycles for Kids. Each year a team embarks on a bicycle tour and this year they cycled from Calgary to Vancouver in 11 days. Throughout the years they have cycled across all of Canada and to date, CCFK has cycled close to 12,000 kilometers. Their ultimate goal was to raise $500,000 for Children’s Wish and Canada Cycles For Kids has surpassed their goal. CCFK continues to raise funds for Children’s Wish.
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.”