The impact of a wish

WestJet and Make-A-Wish® Canada release video highlighting former wish recipient families

CALGARY, Feb. 9, 2016 /CNW/ - What happens when a child with a life-threatening illness is granted her wish? What happens when a child is given hope, strength and joy? Today, Make-A-Wish® Canada and WestJet demonstrate the life-changing effects of a wish with the launch of the video, Impact of a Wish. Click here to view the video.

"A wish is a vital gift for a critically-ill child," said Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, Make-A-Wish Canada President and CEO. "We have seen firsthand that the granting of a wish, in concert with medical care, has the ability to give a child with a life-threatening medical condition renewed hope for a healthier tomorrow, strength to fight their illness and profound joy in knowing that anything is possible. Our own wish is that by viewing the video, the public will understand that a wish is not just a nice-to-have, it's a need-to-have."

In October 2015, WestJet hosted an event that showcased a gallery of video vignettes of former Make-A-Wish® recipients and their families. Guests of WestJet and Make-A-Wish were invited to watch and listen to each child's story, as told from the parents' perspective. Each story illustrates the impact of the wish and how, because of the wish, the child and their family were able to stop thinking of the illness and start thinking about being kids, and even, the child's future. To the surprise of the guests, the featured wish alumni were then introduced in person – healthier, older and wiser – to give a very special gift to an exceptional young recipient.

"This video is proof that granting a wish is just the beginning," said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. "It was a powerful moment seeing these wish alumni have a chance to give back, and make a positive impact on someone else's life. At WestJet, we are also driven to give back and make a positive impact in the lives of young people. Through our WestJet Cares for Kids partnership with Make-A-Wish, we are able to work together to provide hope, strength and joy for wish kids, families and communities alike."

To read more about the impact of a wish, please visit the WestJet blog.

WestJet Cares for Kids helps Make-A-Wish Canada grant travel wishes by providing the gift of flight. Additionally, WestJet helps create the ultimate wish experience for Make-A-Wish children and their families travelling with WestJet.

In 2015, WestJet Cares for Kids donated more than 7,050 one-way flights to its charitable partners, which include Make-A-Wish Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, The David Foster Foundation, Free the Children, Hope Air, Missing Children Society of Canada, and Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada.

To view each individual's story, please click on the names below.

Edmonton, Alta.:

Hannah (16 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to meet Lauren Conrad (2008)
Current age: 23

Kalista (3 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to meet Shamu (2001)
Current age: 17 

Miranda (15 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to meet the cast of Heartland (2010)
Current age: 20

Natasia (7 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Hawaii (2006)
Current age: 16

Calgary, Alta.:

Amy (10 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Walt Disney World® Resort (2010)
Current age: 15       

Erik (4 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Walt Disney World® Resort (2011)
Current age: 8 

Rebecca (12 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Walt Disney World® Resort (2005)
Current age: 22 

Vancouver, B.C.:

Saskia (13 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Galápagos Islands (2007)
Current age: 21

London, Ont.:

Sarah (12 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, Bahamas (2006)
Current age: 21

Granville-Ferry, N.S.

Brenda (14 years old at time of wish)
Wish: to go to Paris before she lost her sight (2012)
Current age: 17

About Make-A-Wish Canada
Make-A-Wish Canada is a dynamic wish-granting organization that brings hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Along with the national office, eight regional chapters grant magical wishes to children in need from coast to coast. Make-A-Wish Canada is an affiliate of Make-A-Wish® International. Make-A-Wish is the largest wish-granting organization in the world, making dreams and wishes come true for more than 350,000 children since 1980. For more information, please visit www.makeawish.ca.

About WestJet
We are proud to be Canada's highest-rated airline for customer service, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers. We offer scheduled service to 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 150 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.  

Recent recognition includes:
2015/2011/2008-2005 Canada's 10 Most-Admired Corporate Cultures (Waterstone Human Capital)
2015/2014/2013/2012 Canada's Most Attractive Employer (Randstad)
2015/2014/2013/2012 Top three brands in Canada (Canadian Business magazine)
2015 Best Employers in Canada (Aon Hewitt)
2015/2014/2013 WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (MoneySense magazine)
2015/2014/2013 WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard ranked #1 in the Canada's Choice ranking (RewardsCanada.ca)
2014 Interbrand Canada's Best Canadian Brands (rank #20)
2014 Brands of the Year (Strategy magazine)
2014 Canada's Most Preferred Airline (Ipsos)
2014 Value Airline of the Year (Air Transport World magazine)
2014/2013/2012/2011 Highest equity score: airline, vacation package supplier brands (Harris/Decima EquiTrend Study)

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SOURCE WestJet

Image with caption: "WestJet (CNW Group/WestJet)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160209_C7920_PHOTO_EN_616108.jpg

Image with caption: "Make-A-Wish® Canada (CNW Group/WestJet)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160209_C7920_PHOTO_EN_616104.jpg

For further information: Media contacts: To contact WestJet media relations, please email media@westjet.com.

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