Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Children's Wish Foundation - More Wishes, More Wonders

We all have hopes and dreams for our children. We want them to be happy and healthy. We want them to be confident and courageous, and full of wonder. We want them to know kindness and grace and to live life fully, and we want them to be surrounded by unconditional love and happiness. This is perhaps our greatest wish. Almost everything we do as parents is motivated by a desire to see our children happy. 

And our children have wishes of their own. Whether it be to play on a field with their favourite athlete, or to meet a famous singer. It might be to travel to another country, to visit the Princesses at Disney World, or to star in a music video. All children have wishes, and when a child has an illness or life-altering disability, making their wish come true can have a profound impact on their well-being, helping them to feel better emotionally as well as physically.

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 1000 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. 

Recently, Children's Wish has broadened the range of children to whom they grant wishes. Eligible children with life-threatening illnesses now include those with serious genetic and neurological diagnoses. These conditions represent an emerging population who may not have survived 10-20 years ago. Advancements in medicine mean that these children are now surviving, but are left with incredible challenges to their health and quality of life. By creating unique and meaningful experiences, the Children's Wish Foundation enhances quality of life for these courageous children and their families.

Dr. Jeremy Friedman cares for countless children as Associate Pediatrician-in-Chief at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Friedman also reaches out to children with life-threatening illnesses in another way, as a medical advisor for the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.
Dr. Friedman advises on wish eligibility criteria and played a crucial part in helping Children’s Wish expand its mission to include children with serious genetic and neurological diagnoses, like severe cerebral palsy.

“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.”

Please watch this touching video, as Dr. Friedman talks about their expanded wish granting efforts:

I was contacted by the Children's Wish Foundation's national office, and am very excited to have started a new working relationship with them as a 'Wish Ambassador'. I will be writing for the organization regularly, covering events, fundraising activities, and featuring the stories of children who have been granted wishes. I will share the power and the magic that a wish can hold, and describe its impact on the lives of children and their families.

It is exciting to know that children like mine, and like so many of the little ones we know and care for now meet the criteria and are eligible for a Wish. Children who have medical complexities, who have care needs that are significant for the entire family, and who have chronic life-limiting conditions now have the opportunity to do something together as a family, and make wonderful memories without the focus being on the child's medical condition.

"If you think about the impact of that on the child and on the family, I think you have to come away with thinking who could possibly be more deserving of a Wish and an opportunity to create something positive, some hope, some positive memories and legacy than this particular group of children.", said Dr. Friedman.

For more information on the Children's Wish Foundation, or to refer a child, visit http://www.childrenswish.ca/

This article also appears in The Telegram, HERE.

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