July 28, 2023 – TORONTO, ON – “I can’t believe it’s over!”, remarked 7-year-old Aisha from Ontario who was one of 40 wish kids on a historic group wish trip to Florida from July 18-25. The trip was organized by Make-A-Wish® Canada to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. While Walt Disney World® Resort was top of mind for the kids, many special touches were added throughout the week to celebrate this important milestone.
“We knew we wanted to do something special to mark our 40th anniversary”, said Meaghan Stovel McKnight, CEO, Make-A-Wish Canada. “Sending 40 families to Florida at once was an audacious goal, but we were able to pull it off thanks to so many partners who immediately stepped up to collaborate with us.”
The celebration began in Toronto on July 17th as families from across Canada gathered at the Blue Cross Lounge inside the Sheraton Gateway Hotel for a pre-flight party. It was a chance to make new friends, enjoy some family friendly activities and set the celebratory mood before departing the next day.
WestJet continued the fun by providing a flight crew and 737-800 Disney Magic plane plus a special gate celebration. An in-flight experience was hosted by BOOM 97.3 radio personality Stu Jeffries and Paralympic hockey athlete and wish kid alumni Tyler McGregor.
Home for the week was Give Kids The World Village, a whimsical non-profit resort in Kissimmee, Florida. Upon arrival, families were treated to a welcome party. The fun continued on July 19 with a 40th Anniversary bowling party at Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs. In between activities, wish families experienced their most heartfelt wish enjoying various theme parks, aquariums, and so much more.
“None of us will ever forget the joy and positivity our families experienced throughout the week, and we were reminded once again how much wishes matter to families who have faced the challenges of childhood critical illness”, said Meaghan Stovel McKnight, CEO of Make-A-Wish Canada. “I would like to thank all our valued partners, and of course our donors, for making this trip possible. These life-changing wishes have forever enriched the lives of 40 incredible wish kids and their families, and we cannot thank you enough.”
B-roll and images of the week-long activities available.
ABOUT MAKE-A-WISH® CANADA
Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We are on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child’s treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness. As an independently operating affiliate of Make-A-Wish International, Make-A-Wish Canada is part of the network of the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization. We serve children in every community in Canada, and in more than 50 countries worldwide. In 2023, Make-A-Wish Canada is proudly celebrating 40 years of wish granting, having granted more than 37,000 wishes since 1983, with over 1,000 of them last year alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish Canada, visit makeawish.ca.
Celine Honrade | Communications Specialist | Make-A-Wish® Canada