Friday, 16 August 2013 10:00

Alberta Wish Trail Rides helps make wishes come true

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

When Calgary's Irene White and her husband started the Alberta Wish Trail Ride in 2009, she did it inspired by her father who sadly passed away about a year earlier.


With the help of some dedicated volunteers, Walter White began the Wish Trail Rides in 1996 in his province of British Columbia.
Now, entering its fifth year, his daughter’s Alberta Wish Trail Rides have generated over $120,000 to the Children's Wish Foundation and Irene White couldn't be happier.
“I'm very pleased — the Wish Foundation is the beneficiary,” explained White who said they have won awards for their work.
According to the website, The Alberta Wish Trail Ride has been operating since 2009. The day consists of an escorted horse-back ride through some great Alberta countryside, food, entertainment and prizes.
The one-day event consists of an organized horse ride followed by entertainment, prizes and a silent auction. Participants are also treated to a pancake breakfast before the ride and a hot meal when they return.
The rides are to support the Children’s Wish Foundation. The Foundation was formed in 1984 and sole purpose as a national non-profit organization which is to make a wish come true for children who have terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Children’s Wish has granted more than 18,000 wishes for children and their families and fulfills approximately 1,000 wishes annually across Canada.
“My goal is never the recognition, my goal is the kids. How much more can we raise and how many more kids can we provide wishes to?”explained White. “I saw what can be done. No matter what we get, it's more than what we had.
“Some of these kids are terminally ill. It makes their lives a little better. I remember a girl from High River. She got a chance to see Criss Angel (the magician) in Las Vegas. She was absolutely thrilled. She was so happy, we’re sure it added a number of months to her life.”
Families suffer through the illness with constant worrying, stress caused by health and financial concerns. Even for other family members, their concerns or needs may be ignored during the time of crisis caused by the suffering child. White said the granting of a wish is for the specific child, but all family members can enjoy and benefit from it.
White started the trail rides after her father’s legacy project. She and her husband moved from Manitoba to Alberta seven years ago.
They thought the idea was good so they pushed for the idea on their own.
Irene indicates that in Canada, the wish rides have been going for 25 years and will have generated $1 million by the end of 2013.
This year, there will be two rides in the southeastern Alberta region. On Sept. 7, one ride will take place near Duchess, about 28 km north of Brooks and on Sept. 21, another fundraising trail ride will take place at the north part of the Cypress Hills near the world-famous Reesor Ranch. Reesor Ranch is 33 km south southeast of Walsh, just tucked inside the Saskatchewan border.
White is happy to have Cheryl Virostek who is from Rolling Hills to host the inaugural ride near Duchess and Judy Nygaard from Medicine Hat lead the one in the Cypress Hills.
In 2012, rides in Cypress Hills and Kananaskis, resulted in $44,000 handed over to the Children's Wish Foundation. This shows the growth in the event's popularity.
In order to ride in the event, one has to collect at least a certain amount of donations. In both Duchess and Cypress Hills, it’s $60 (see related story below).
White asked an Alberta member of the Children’s Wish Foundation what the average cost is of a wish. Because every wish is different, it’s difficult to quantify, but it was estimated that it’s $10,000 per wish.
To get more info on the Alberta Wish Trail Ride group, those interested can go to www.albertawishride.ca
White is hopeful they will be able to get a ride going near Edmonton.
“I'd like to get one further north, but no matter — it's a real feel-good thing.”

Read 21766 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 17:32
Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor