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New Kelowna society aims to build local respite centre and hospice house for children

A golf stag party may end up being the humble origins of what eventually brings Kelowna its first respite centre and hospice house for children.

After Brad Krauza spent his bachelor party on the golf course with 15 close friends several years ago, the group vowed to get together to play 18 more often.

The gathering became an annual event and in the third year, the friends decided to raise money for a good cause.

"A fellow musician's dad had passed away, so (we said): Let's raise some money, do a dedication to his dad and maybe we could raise money for kids somewhere, because we all have kids. So we put on the golf tournament for the Central Okanagan Child Development Association," said Krauza.

In more recent years, funds from the golf tournament went toward helping local families with costs so they were able to be at Canuck Place with their children during their final stages of life.

Markus Smythe was a benefactor from the 2011 golf tournament; a month later he passed away.

"We were all devastated. The mom had said the words that came out of his mouth when he was in Canuck Place was he wanted to see his dog and his friends but he couldn't because he was stuck in Vancouver.

"That made us think: Why don't we have one here?"

With that vision in mind, the Wish Come True Society was formed in 2012 with the goal of building a respite centre and hospice house for children in Kelowna.

Krauza understands the long-term goal is ambitious, and will take no shortage of money, but he believes there is a need. And recent conversations have led him to believe the community is willing to help.

"We've already had people offering us property for free.

"I think if we all come together, it will happen a lot sooner than later."

The Wish Come True Society will host its first event outside of the golf tournament—a Valentine's Masquerade dance—Feb. 16 at the Okanagan Mission Hall.

To buy tickets ($25) for the event or to learn more about the society visit wishcometruesociety.com.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

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