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Kelowna walks for wishes
A short walk on a mild October day may end up resulting in a life-changing experience for a local child.
About 50 people participated in the second annual Kelowna Wishmaker Walk for Wishes Saturday, which raised $1,840 for the B.C. chapter of the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.
The foundation works to make wishes come true for kids between the ages of three and 17. The wishes are unique to each child and range from electronics gifts to cruise ship vacations.
The most popular wish is a trip to Disneyland.
"We do incredible wishes," said Michaela Woloszyn, a wish coordinator with the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.
"The sky is the limit."
Many of those taking part in Saturday's walk said they didn't have a personal connection to the wish foundation, but are simply supporters of the concept.
"There are a lot of kids out there that need help; this is a small way I can help," said Nancy Carter, one of the participants in the walk.
Carter said she can only imagine how powerful the impact of having a wish come true must be for the children.
"It's got to be a world of difference for them—just something wonderful in their lives that they can look forward to, that they can remember, and something that their families can remember."
Although the money raised in Kelowna goes to the B.C. chapter, Woloszyn said many Okanagan kids reap the benefits of the program.
Katie Spencer-Lim was one of the main volunteers at Saturday's event. She was also a part of last year's first annual Kelowna Wishmaker Walk for Wishes.
She said the wishes granted are as important to the family as they are to the child.
"For the family, it's a chance to see their child just be a child and not have to worry about whatever medical issues that they're dealing with."
According to the foundation's website, most wish referrals come from parents, family members or the network of doctors, nurses and social workers engaged with the child. Referrals can also come from friends, other wish families, community and support organizations, school teachers or caregivers.
For more information on the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada or to refer a child, visit childrenswish.ca.