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Queen's students help make wishes come true

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Whether it’s a trip to Disneyworld, meeting Justin Bieber or attending a Blue Jays game and playing catch with your favourite player, the student volunteer group Queen’s Students for Wishes can help make a youngster’s dream come true.

The only 100 per cent student-run branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Queen’s group is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children living in Kingston and the surrounding area.

The executive members are, back row (l to r): Chelsey Wilson, Rebecca Gonser, Madison Robertson, Matthew Lam, Taylor Dale, Sylvester Chiang and Sarah Kaleem. Middle row: Zoe Best, Francine Marovitz, Samantha Boynton, Vanessa Martins, Jessica Masciangelo, Claire Connors, Roopa Suppiah and Joyce Wai. In the front are Chelsea Kerr and Patricia Marks.

Leading Students for Wishes are Queen’s students president Chelsea Kerr and vice president Patricia Marks. The duo preside over 40 student volunteers who work year round raising money to make wishes come true. This year their fundraising goal is $50,000.

“I’ve been involved for three years and I knew from the start this is a group I wanted to be involved in,” says Ms. Kerr. “We fundraise all year and then we see exactly where the money is going. I love granting wishes and seeing the difference we make in the children’s lives.”

Children with life threatening medical conditions and their families are welcome to ask for wishes. Ms. Kerr explains children do not have to be terminally ill to have a wish granted and anyone close to the child can ask for a wish; the referral does not have to come from a medical professional. The wishes the organization grants are varied and the Kingston-based group has never had to turn anyone down.

“We ask the child to pick three wishes and we discuss with the board which one the child seems to really want. The second visit we get to reveal which wish we are going to grant,” says Ms. Marks. “It’s an amazing and fulfilling way to get involved in the community.”

“Each wish we grant touches us in a special way,” says Ms. Kerr. “There is such excitement leading up to the big reveal – seeing the joy in the child’s face.”

The Queen’s group is currently celebrating its recent Wine for Wishes fundraising event, which raised $7,000. Next up is the fifth annual HaiRaiser being held at the Cataraqui Centre February 1. Participants are asked to raise pledges and donate eight to ten inches of their hair or shave their head for a minimum $10 donation. All hair is donated to Children with Hair Loss and Pantene Beautiful Lengths. For information visit the Queen’s Students for Wishes Facebook page. The goal for the event is over $25,000.

Queen’s Students for Wishes is a branch of Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario Canada. For information visit their website or email studentsforwishes.queensu@gmail.com.