Walkers of all ages took to the streets on Saturday on behalf of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Children and adults make their way through the streets of Prince Albert on Saturday during the annual Wishmaker Walk for Wishes, which this year raised $1,200 for the Children’s Wish Foundation. Funds raised will go towards granting the wishes of sick children throughout Saskatchewan.
The Wishmaker Walk for Wishes is the Foundation’s most prominent annual fundraising effort, helping gather much of the money required to make the wishes of sick children come true.
This year’s effort in Prince Albert raised $1,200 for the foundation’s Saskatchewan chapter, which will go towards granting the wishes of children across the province.
“It’s a little bit less than the last year,” volunteer Tammy Petruk said. “We have a smaller crowd.
“We did it earlier this year, so they might change it up next year. It was kind of our own choice as to when we did it this year.”
Approximately 17-18 people joined in the walk this year. Participants started out from Staples, circled around the Gateway Mall and made their way down Central Avenue before returning to the starting point.
Petruk said the change in schedule arose out of a desire to hold the walk in warmer conditions.
“We were doing it in October, and it was so cold in October … This year as co-ordinators, we were able to move it up if we wanted to or move it back -- whatever worked out best for the community -- so we moved ours up.
“It’s nicer outside -- a little bit warmer to walk.”
All money raised from the Wishmaker Walk in Saskatchewan stays in the province, while corporate sponsors provide much of the funding across Canada.
Petruk estimated that the foundation grants more than 100 wishes to sick children in Saskatchewan each year, with a goal to push that number above 500.
She identified travel as one of the major categories of wishes, with computers and entertainment centres among the other popular choices.
“It doesn’t have to be children that are terminally ill,” Petruk said. “A lot of the kids, they might have leukemia or cystic fibrosis and stuff like that.
“But it’s also kids that have just been through a tough time in life with sickness and stuff like that, and they grant the wishes.”
We did it earlier this year, so they might change it up next year. Tammy Petruk
Preparations for the Prince Albert walk start early each year, with Petruk sending out donation letters in April and May before “pounding the pavement” in an effort to gather more donations, prizes for the walkers and so forth.
Among this year’s sponsors who donated money or prizes were Staples, which donated $200, and The Co-operators, which contributed $500.
Five staff members from The Co-operators joined Saturday’s walk, including manager Jacquie Goertzen.
“We actually just received a one-page brochure in the mail, and so we made a phone call to this gal at Staples and inquired about it more,” Goertzen said.
“I gathered my staff together and they thought it was a really great opportunity to help out some little children that are going through an illness, and that’s why we decided to donate today.”
Other walkers had a more personal connection to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Colleen Moody noted the positive effect on her son when he had a wish granted five years ago.
“It’s done wonders for him,” she said. “So we want to give back.”
Following their jaunt around the neighbourhood, walkers enjoyed food and refreshments before organizers announced door prize winners.
Looking to next year’s walk, chances are high that Petruk will again play a leading role in organizing the event.
“I always say that I think I’m going to step back,” she said. “But you know what, I enjoy it so much and I see the same people, I see the same kids coming in and they really enjoy it, so it’s great.”
“It’s a little bit of work on my behalf,” she added. “But you know what, I don’t mind doing it because like I say, it goes to a good cause.”