Karen chose to donate to Make-A-Wish in honour of her former student, Nikolas, who had his wish granted when he was nine years old. In 2004, without warning, Nik suffered two strokes which severely impacted his health. When his family found out he was eligible for a wish, they were excited that Nik would have a special experience after a very difficult time. Nik wished to stay in a castle with a bowling alley and swimming pool (his two favourite activities). Make-A-Wish granted his wish in 2005 and gave him a family vacation at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
Karen shares why she decided to donate to Make-A-Wish:
“Last year, my husband and I discussed making a donation to an organization that we feel a connection to and I decided it would be great to honour Nik by giving to Make-A-Wish. We hoped that the donation would help other children like him.
The fact that you don’t necessarily know the people who you are helping isn’t always important. It’s a way of giving back and it’s wonderful to know that families get to have this special time together like Nik did with his family. I saw wish kids on a flight to Florida for their wishes when I took my granddaughters there just six weeks after I made my donation to Make-A-Wish. It was so nice to see this come full circle.
You really get a feeling of satisfaction knowing that the funds will make a difference for kids who are having a difficult time and that a wish will offer a positive distraction. We know that life offers no guarantees and if my family member had an illness, I know I’d like to enjoy some special time with them. To think a child is going through a problem where they deal with fear and anxiety every day and that there’s something like this that can make them and their parents happier is truly incredible.”
Nik’s mom, Maxine, shares how the wish impacted their family:
“A wish fills an important need; it was essential for our healing as a family. It offered so much hope and was a great journey that also allowed Nik to be an ambassador for Make-A-Wish. A wish helps kids make their dreams come true and reach their full potential.
Nik is now 22 and is doing great these days. As a result of his condition, he has limitations to his mobility and swimming ended up being an incredible activity that he excels at. A big part of his wish was related to swimming and it’s still important to him today. In 2011, Nik competed as a swimmer in the Parapan American Games in Mexico and he is now training full-time with the goal of going to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games.”