7-year-old Brockville, Ont. boy’s dream to see Raptors game granted by Make-A-Wish

Click to play video: 'Make-A-Wish foundation grants Brockville boy’s wish to see Raptors game' Make-A-Wish foundation grants Brockville boy’s wish to see Raptors game
A reveal party was held at a Brockville karate dojo Tuesday evening to grant Gary Church's wish. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, next week, Gary will be court-side at a Raptors game – Mar 4, 2020

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is making a young Brockville, Ont., boy’s dream come true.

Seven-year-old Gary Church showed up at S.M.A. Karate Canada in Brockville on Tuesday evening all decked out in Raptors gear. Gary, a huge fan of the Toronto team, was surprised by family and friends at the Make-A-Wish reveal party when he was told he would be going to see his team play next week.

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“He’s had a rough go,” Gary’s mom Marcia said, “but we’ve made it. You wouldn’t know he’s sick looking at him today.”

Gary survived a hole in his heart and daily seizures at just two weeks old, spending 16 days in hospital on life-support.

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At three years old, Gary was diagnosed with developmental delays, and at four, he was diagnosed with kidney disease and epilepsy.

“We have just got his seizures under control after six years. They’ve been under control for just over a year now,” Marcia said.

Gary also lives with a mild form of autism.

Just over a year ago, he could not walk. He also disliked being touched and was unable to speak. But his involvement in karate over the last year has been a game-changer.

“One of the reasons he came to us, his mother was having a problem finding a program that fit somebody of his nature,” said Michael Hunt, chief instructor at the dojo where the reveal party was held.

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Residents rappel from Lethbridge’s tallest building for charity – Aug 28, 2019

Since attending classes two days a week for the last year, Hunt and Gary’s parents have seen an outstanding improvement in the young boy’s confidence, physical abilities and speech.

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“It’s awesome the changes we have seen,” Hunt said.

To celebrate his achievements, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending Gary with his parents to Toronto for a Raptors game, with courtside seats.

“He is a super sweet child,” said Annie Stiles, an eastern Ontario Make-A-Wish Foundation representative. “We met back in August to chat about all the wishes and all his favourite things.”

Gary was at first stunned when he heard the news, but as the evening went on, his smile grew as the news sunk in that he would be going to see his favourite team play.

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