Pledge-walkers strolled around Gateway Mall, returning to Staples, where they began, for burgers.
“It was $2,300 last year, (that’s) double than last year,” Tammy Petruk said. She is the organizer of the Children’s Wish Foundation Walk in Prince Albert, and the manager at Staples.
The money goes directly to the Saskatchewan Children’s Wish Foundation, which grants about 1,000 wishes to children across the province each year.
This is the sixth annual walk in Prince Albert and the second one to be held at Staples in Gateway Mall.
Across Canada, the Children’s Wish Foundation grants wishes to children who have a life threatening illness. Last year they granted more than 900 wishes across the country and they have granted 692 this year to date.
Two of the children taking part have been granted a wish by the foundation.
Evan Moody, 7, is a Wish Child. Despite being unwell right now, he came out to join the walkathon.
“He is actually in the hospital right now, he got a pass just to come and do this. It’s important for him,” said Colleen Moody, Evan’s mother.
Evan was told he would be granted a wish a couple of years ago and has been committed to the foundation ever since, Colleen said.
“He’s been granted a wish, (but) he hasn’t taken it yet. He hasn’t been healthy enough,” she said.
Despite the challenge of his health, Evan is still planning his wish and knows exactly what he wants.
“(To) go swimming with the dolphins and see a volcano erupt, in a helicopter,” Evan said, between mouthfuls of a walkathon burger. “Hawaii,” he added, remembering the name of the country where he wants to go.
Granting children’s wishes has an effect on the whole family, not just the child, Petruk said.
“They don’t have to worry about the sickness for a change. They can go out for two weeks, one week … it’s not something they get to forget about very often.”
A child’s wish can vary greatly from travelling overseas to meeting a celebrity or just some taking some family time.
“One little guy wanted a camping trip for his family, so that they could just go out and camp and forget about all the hospitals all the appointments and stuff like that.”
Wishes also range in monetary value, anywhere between $500 and $10,000, Petruk said.
“Depending on what the child wishes for. It could be anything as simple as a bike or it could be a trip to Disney Land,” she said.
Family, friends or medical staff may nominate a child between three and 17 who has a life-threatening illness.
Brett Shewchuk, who just turned 21, is also a Wish Child. He is finally about to get his wish.
“He is actually in the hospital right now, he got a pass just to come and do this. It’s important for him,” said Colleen Moody, Evan’s mother. -
“I’m going over to Europe, over to Paris and to Amsterdam,” Shewchuk said. His decision was not one he came to quickly.
“It did take me awhile to think of it.”
“I’m outa school now, and I don’t know when I’ll get another chance to go overseas, so I should take it right now,” Shewchuk said.
While he received clearance to get his wish when he was 16, he was unable to take advantage of it until now. While the wish foundation prefers that wishes be used before the age of 18, they sometimes allow extensions, often for medical reasons.
Shewchuk leaves at the end of the month and will be taking both his parents and one friend.
“We’ll be going for seven days, seven nights,” he said.
Petruk, who has been organizing the annual walk for two years, believes in the cause.
“I don’t have a wish (sick) child. I just do it because I think it’s a great cause,” she said.
She encourages people to get involved and to check out the Wish Foundation website and read some of the stories about wishes granted and their impact.
“It really makes you think how lucky you are if you don’t have to use Children’s Wish Foundation.”