Prince Albert’s École Valois school has provided a $1,000 boost to Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan in the name of wish kid Anthony Chester.
Make-A-Wish made Anthony’s dream of having a red fishing boat come true in June of last year. He’s a 16-year-old student at École Valois.
Jacqueline Denis, a teacher who led the fundraising, said they always raise money for the school with the help of its student representative council (SRC). After the council learned about their fellow student’s wish, they decided to go a slightly different route.
“One of the things we’re really trying to promote with our kids here is the idea of just giving back,” said Denis.
“It was just the idea to get us out into the community and for them to really have an idea of ‘We can make a difference elsewhere besides our school,’ and so we think we’re going to have something that maybe will continue on for the next few years.”
École Valois raised money through Mom’s Pantry throughout the month of November, with a portion going towards Make-A-Wish. Denis said they gave out small prizes for students who raised the most money.
“It was a lot of fun seeing everyone come together,” said Kayli Delisle, president of the SRC.
She explained what it was like to hear about Anthony’s wish coming true.
“I just saw joy and he was proud and excited and he loves fishing, so it just, it made me want to do something as well. I wanted to give back,” she said. “That’s something I value.”
Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan Regional Manager Allyson Toye said although donations go into “a general pot,” they can ensure a portion of the money goes to a wish kid in Prince Albert and area—currently, Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan is working on eight wishes in and around the city.
“Anthony goes to this school, so it’s pretty neat that his classmates are willing to give back and help another kid’s wish come true,” she said.
The organization grants four types of wishes to children with critical illnesses: a wish to have, a wish to go, a wish to meet and a wish to be. The average wish costs $10,000.
Toye said each chapter has its own fundraising events, including a women’s golf tournament coming up in the summer. The province-wide fundraiser is called Lemonade for Wishes.
They also get money through corporate donations, individual giving, service club donations and third party events.
Anthony’s mom, Mireille, said her son has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. He can respond with ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but is mostly non-verbal.
“He’s very shy,” she said, but that hesitation around new people seemed to disappear when he walked into Rally Motors to a crowd of people standing around his new boat.
“If you bring up his fishing boat, he will try to tell you all about it and all the fish he’s catching on it,” said Mireille.
“Once we got him home, he sat in there for about three days straight. He refused to get out. I’m sure if we would have let him sleep in there, he would have,” she said with a laugh.
As a parent, she explained, “there’s not really any words—you’re grateful and kind of in shock.”
To volunteer for Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan or for more information about fundraising events in Prince Albert and area, call (306) 850-9474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.