Grant wishes for terminally ill children just by lacing up your sneakers.
The Make-A-Wish Trailblaze for Wishes is encouraging Canadians to get active any way they want and reach distance goals to raise awareness and funds for kids in their community. The fundraiser is in its second year in Atlantic Canada.
The eight-week virtual challenge runs from April 27 to June 25 and allows participants to choose how they take part and their distance. Trailblazers can hike, bike, run, walk, roll, swim or rollerblade distances from 50 to 200 kilometres. Participants set the pace, time and destination to help raise funds to help children with critical illnesses in their community.
“We’re just delighted to have the opportunity to have participants come out,” says Joyce Nifort, development manager at Make-A-Wish Nova Scotia Chapter. “This is a great opportunity as well for own mental health – to be able to get outside.”
The Demone family of Fletchers Lake, N.S., knows all too well the importance of fundraising events like Trailblaze for Wishes and the impact it has on families with critically ill children. Their eight-year-old daughter Olivia had her wish granted in 2019 thanks to money raised by Make-A-Wish supporters. Olivia’s mother Amy and father Scott say since then, they have tried to give back to the organization.
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“I’ve been trying to give back to Make-A-Wish by doing some of their fundraising and participating in their events like Trailblaze for Wishes,” says Amy Demone. “Last year, I did the 50-kilometre goal and this year I’m working on the 200-kilometre goal.”
When Olivia was five, she was diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia. It is a rare genetic disease that affects the nervous and immune systems and can cause difficulty in movement co-ordination.
“The news was devastating, of course,” says Scott Demone. “Just trying to figure out what it was and of course, all kinds of appointments to deal with. The wish definitely, greatly helped take her mind off of things for a little bit … for sure.”
Amy hopes other Atlantic Canadians will be encouraged to sign up for Trailblaze for Wishes to help kids like Olivia.
“Signing up just gives you that motivation to do it and it also helps Make-A-Wish grant more wishes for children,” she says. “There’s so many children waiting for their wishes and we need to help raise money and bring it to the attention of everybody.”
Global News is a proud supporter of the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze for Wishes. For more information, visit the Make-A-Wish website.