PICKERING, ON, Oct. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - After three decades focused on granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, Children's Wish is now expanding our reach to grant more wishes. Children with serious neurological and genetic diagnoses, like severe cerebral palsy, are now eligible for their most heartfelt wish. These are children with complex care and mobility challenges who are often largely or fully dependent on their families for their day-to-day activities. In Canada, an estimated 2,000 children have severe cerebral palsy.
Why are we making this change? The answer is simple: because physicians have told us it is needed. Advances in medicine and technology are making it possible for children with these diagnoses to survive into adulthood. But while science may have extended their lives, these children face incredible challenges as they struggle with the need for constant care and hospitalization, as well as severe disabilities and delays in their development. From our field work and discussions with the medical community, we know there is a real and urgent need to provide joy and relief to these children and their families.
Dr. Jeremy Friedman, Associate Paediatrician-in-Chief, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, also advises the Children's Wish Medical Advisory Board on wish eligibility criteria. He played a crucial part in helping Children's Wish expand our mission to include this new population of complex care children. "These children need 24-hour care and are usually in and out of the hospital," Dr. Friedman explains. "The impact on these children and families when they experience joy, laughter and happy memories is just as big as any wish Children's Wish has ever granted."
One of Mady's Mom's fondest memories was seeing her daughter so cheerful and lively. She says, 'During their visit, Mady didn't have a single seizure. She just kept laughing and looking at Mary Poppins.
More Wishes, More Wonders Campaign
These children need our help and you can join with us to grant their most heart-felt wishes. Children's Wish needs additional funds so we can help this growing group of eligible wish children. We anticipate approximately 200 new eligible referrals for these children this year, and have approved over 100 to date to receive their wish. Across the country, in every province, on Thursday, October 29, The Children's Wish Foundation will host local launch events for our More Wishes, More Wonders Campaign to raise $10,000,000 by 2021 to meet this growing need. We are very pleased to introduce our National Campaign Co-Chair, Dave Lacey, President and Chief Executive Officer at Brookfield RPS, lending leadership and support to Children's Wish for 25 years. He is working with leadership volunteers across the country who are leading the campaign in their province. Today, Children's Wish stands at a pivotal and exciting point in our history. The face of childhood illness is changing, and Children's Wish is leading the way into the future.
Wishes work wonders. We've seen proof of this time and again at The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada. Over the last 30 years, we've seen how a favourite wish fulfilled can transform the life of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. We've watched how, with every wish we grant, we create moments of joy that ease the pain of a child and give respite and hope to the child's family. For many wish children, the excitement of planning and anticipating their wish has a dramatic effect on their healing. We have also seen the impact of wishes on the community as each wish connects families, healthcare professionals, friends, donors and volunteers in supporting the wish child.
Chris Kotsopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada, confirmed that the number of children who have been approved to receive their most heartfelt wish this year will be our biggest yet, expecting approximately 1200 approved wishes. "We are very pleased to have such a positive impact on the lives of the children we serve and their families," commented Kotsopoulos, "and we are confident that, thanks to the support of our donors and volunteers, we will continue our tradition on never denying an eligible child his or her wish."
The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada
The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada is the largest all Canadian wish granting charity dedicated to granting wishes to Canadian children between the ages of 3 and 17 who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. For more than 30 years, Children's Wish has worked tirelessly to grant heartfelt wishes to more than 22,000 children and their families.
This year, The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada expects to grant over 1,000 new wishes across the country with the help of volunteers and generous donors; that is approximately three wishes each and every day, all year long. Each wish is the child's most heartfelt wish, and carefully structured to meet the particular needs of the child and their family. Already within our first six months of this year, we are experiencing unprecedented increases of wish referrals through our strong medical community relationships. Now more than ever, we are encouraging Canadians to donate and support The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada to help us grant the next most heartfelt wish.
Children's Wish is a national charity with chapters in every province and territory. The Foundation relies entirely on the generosity of our donors and volunteers to grant our children their wishes. The organization's key fundraising events across the country include Exile Island, Princess Tea Parties, and Wishmaker Walks currently taking place in over 100 communities in October (childrenswish.ca/wishmakerwalk); in addition to nearly 1,000 annual community events across the country. Visit www.childrenswish.ca for more information and to donate.
SOURCE The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada
Image with caption: "Madelyn (beside), age 6, has cerebral palsy, on her Disney Wish (with her favourite Mary Poppins) (CNW Group/The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151016_C7329_PHOTO_EN_522999.jpg
Image with caption: "685 Health Care Professionals Across Canada Referring Children (CNW Group/The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151016_C7329_PHOTO_EN_523001.jpg
Image with caption: "97 Hospitals And Clinics Treated Our Wish Children Over The Past Year (CNW Group/The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151016_C7329_PHOTO_EN_523003.jpg
For further information: More Wishes More Wonders Campaign, Jason Evanson, National Director, Development, [email protected]; Media Inquiries, Sandy Watt, National Director, Marketing, [email protected]