Swift Current duck derby raises over $34K for Make-A-Wish kids

Andrea Orr says 1,380 rubber ducks were dumped into the creek in Swift Current, Sask., during a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish kids. Andrea Orr / Supplied

When all the ripples settled on a rubber duck derby in Swift Current, $34,470 was raised for Make-A-Wish kids in Saskatchewan.

Friends Avery Andres and Bella Thomson both had their wishes granted and wanted to pay it forward with the fundraiser held on Monday in Riverside Park.

“The nickname is ‘speedy creek.’ It wasn’t as speedy as we needed it to be on Monday but we made it work,” Andres’ caregiver and event organizer Andrea Orr said with a laugh.

“We had lots of people come out for it and we dumped 1,380 ducks in the creek … and when all was said and done, the first 16 that crossed the finish line won some big prizes and the girls raised a heck of a lot of money.”

Read more: Regina girl granted custom-made ‘she-shed’ from Make-a-Wish

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While their goal was to raise $50,000, Orr said they were overwhelmed with the support from the community for wish kids and for helping make dreams come true.

“As things progressed with the event, you run into roadblocks here and there and we had a few of them, but we hurdled over them and so we are more than ecstatic,” she said.

“We know Saskatchewan people, lots of us, are hard-up right now and so we were so overwhelmed just to see $35,000 come in times like these.”

From left to right, Wish kids Bella Thomson, Mikayla Young and Avery Andres with Make-A-Wish coordinator Allyson Toye. Andrea Orr / Supplied

Through Make-A-Wish, Andres got a hot tub and a backyard castle was built for Thomson.

“Avery has been a little water bug since she was a baby. She’s always loved swimming and being in the water and, in recent years, being in the hot tub was her go-to. We’d go on vacation and the only thing Avery would want to do is go to the hot tub,” Orr said.

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“At the end of the day, our hearts were full in so many different ways from getting her wish, not just having somewhere where we can relax and recharge and get back into the swing of things after long stays in hospitals or bad days or bad news.

“I think that it goes so much further than just a fundraiser. When you actually experience it and see it firsthand, granting that wish is a pretty phenomenal thing so we’re pretty excited to be able to pay it forward and grant wishes for other kids whose wishes are still waiting.”

Read more: Bella Thomson’s very own fairytale castle sprouts in Swift Current backyard

Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan regional manager Allyson Toye said the event went great and, as of Thursday, the wish list has 253 youth between the ages 3 and 17 with a life-threatening medical condition.

With an average cost of $10,000 per wish, Toye said 52 have been granted in the province since Oct. 1, 2020.

Swift Current is approximately 230 km west of Regina.

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