Congratulations to our 2015 Volunteer Spirit Award winners!
The Volunteer Spirit Award is an annual award which recognizes outstanding volunteers from each of our eight chapters and the national office. These individuals bring hope, strength and joy to Make-A-Wish in everything they do. Their devotion and love of our mission is an inspiration to all.
We recognize, thank and congratulate all of our 2015 winners:
Dr. Eric Bouffet National Office
Dr. Bouffet has supported Make-A-Wish for over 10 years by referring his patients to us for wishes and publicly advocating for our organization. By allowing us to present to his team at SickKids, he has helped us build relationships within the medical community to expand our outreach efforts and grow awareness of what we do. He is currently our National Medical Advisor who acts as our primary consultant with regard to wish eligibility.
Eric had this to say about why he volunteers: “When you see how much sick children have to deal with on a daily basis, you hope there is a time during their journey when they can forget everything and experience something really incredible. Every time a child comes back from a Make-A-Wish trip, it is wonderful to see his/her eyes and smile, to realize the impact of this dream on the child and family.”
Debbie Fox Toronto & Central Ontario
Debbie Fox joined Make-A-Wish as a volunteer wish grantor seven years ago and has shown incredible initiative and an unwavering dedication to the organization. She has acted as a liaison between the Chapter and wish families throughout numerous unique wishes and has handled many challenging situations with great sensitivity and professionalism. Debbie often assists with several wishes at a time, all while giving each wish and wish child the individual attention they deserve. We are incredibly fortunate to have Debbie as part of our Make-A-Wish family and hope to continue our relationship with her for years to come.
Phil Hunt Southwestern Ontario
Phil began volunteering on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish® Southwestern Ontario in 2005, and has also represented the Chapter as the chair of Make-A-Wish Canada’s Leadership Council. Phil will do anything in support of wish kids – he has even participated in the Go Blue! Go Bald! Fundraiser and shaved his head. His skills in strategic thinking have greatly contributed to the Chapter’s development over the past 10 years. Phil consistently acknowledges the efforts of staff and volunteers and is a pleasure to work with.
Phil is a wonderful advocate for our organization, and had this to say about why he volunteers with Make-A-Wish: “As I have been involved, I have learned about the logistics to make wishes happen, the financial requirements to grant wishes and the incredible spirit of the staff and volunteers. In working with Make-A-Wish, I always receive more than I am able to give through my involvement."
Mackenzie Eastern Ontario
Mackenzie, 17, myelodysplastic syndrome, had her wish to go to Hawaii granted in 2015. Immediately upon her return, she looked for ways that she could give back to Make-A-Wish and help other kids. Mackenzie became a Rope for Hope ambassador in 2015 and was the top individual fundraiser in Canada for the event, raising an incredible $14,000 for her rappel. She was able to grant the wish of her friend and fellow cancer patient, Sam. Her outstanding work in the community to fundraise and raise awareness for Make-A-Wish continues. She was the emcee of Make-A-Wish® Eastern Ontario’s 2015 Make-A-Wish Gala and is set to rappel again at Rope for Hope 2016.
Luc Filiatreault Quebec
Luc has been a dedicated volunteer on the Chapter’s Board of Directors since 2010, and president of the Board since 2013. He also sits on the Leadership Council Committee and the Governance Committee at the national level. He has helped recruit over 50 teams for the Chapter’s 48-HOUR RIDE fundraising event and participated in many fundraising and promotional events to help raise the profile of Make-A-Wish® Quebec. He has recruited other Board members and has raised thousands of dollars to bring wishes to life for wish kids. Luc has also been directly involved in the wish-granting process. He says his favourite moments with Make-A-Wish have involved working directly with the wish families.
Catherine and Dany Falle Atlantic Provinces
For the past five years, Catherine and Dany have worked hard to raise the profile of Make-A-Wish in Fredericton, New Brunswick and have raised at least $10,000 each year to help grant wishes. The couple has designed and built a holiday light show set to music at their home and in 2015, people from all over Atlantic Canada visited their display and supported Make-A-Wish. Their efforts have raised in excess of $60,000 to date.
Morgan Shott Northern Alberta
Morgan began volunteering with Make-A-Wish in 2011 and has been an active wish grantor ever since. She has helped guide more than 15 wish families through the wish-granting process in Northern Alberta. Morgan has also been involved with several fundraisers for Make-A-Wish and actively promotes volunteerism for the chapter.
Morgan had this to say about why she volunteers: “I volunteer with Make-A-Wish because there is nothing more rewarding than being a part of a child's wish. It is so much fun coming up with creative ideas to enhance the wish and it is truly amazing how much we can learn from these kids. I see first-hand the impact that a wish has and I feel very lucky that I get to be a part of it.”
Alex Suvanto Southern Alberta
Alex has been assisting Make-A-Wish® Southern Alberta for over two and a half years. Her big heart and attention to detail always add a magical touch to the wishes she helps grant. Alex shared that wish granting allows her to get creative and let her inner kid out. We love how easily Alex brings a smile to each child she works with, and their siblings and families as well.
Alex had this to say about what motivates her to volunteer: “Each wish touches your heart in one way or another and each family becomes a part of your life from then on out. Getting to know the child is one special adventure, you get to help make their ultimate wish come to life.”
Slo-Pitch for Kids British Columbia & Yukon
Slo-Pitch for Kids is a group of over 400 ball players who do individual and team fundraising throughout the year which culminates in their annual summer slo-pitch tournament. Over the last eight years, SPFK has raised over $480,000. In 2015 alone the group raised a total of $103,000! Outside of these fundraising efforts, several group members have become committed to Make-A-Wish in additional ways: three of the SPFK leaders are now sit on the Make-A-Wish® British Columbia & Yukon Board of Directors; six are involved in chapter-based committees and eight SPFK member businesses now support the chapter in other ways. The impact they’ve had on Make-A-Wish British Columbia & Yukon and propelling its mission is simply incredible.