The slogan is “Joy is a wonder drug”. That’s because every wish granted to a child with a life-threatening illness creates hope, not only for the child but for the entire family. In fact, the lives of as many as 100 people in the community can be transformed just by the fervent dream of a wish child.

Blake is just four years old and even riding a carousel is scary due to a catastrophic, progressive form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. It has left him with delayed motor skills and speech. His family didn’t stray far from home.

“We can never let our guard down. We’re always watching for triggers,” says his mom Joelle.

Blake’s wish to visit Give Kids the World Village in Florida was made possible through a Children’s Wish corporate fundraising event called Exile Island. Give Kids the World Village is dedicated to children with special needs, with medical staff on hand while they have the time of their lives. In Florida, Blake went on crazy rides, touched the ocean, fed the dolphins and stayed up past his bedtime.

This wish was transformative. From the moment the family boarded the plane, Blake’s parents noticed the beginning of a remarkable change in their son.

“He started feeding himself for the first time and went from speaking 20 words to 50. Our baby turned into a little boy,” says Joelle.

At the end of every fun-filled day, Blake would try his hardest to retell Joelle all about his day. Before drifting off to sleep, Blake would drowsily say in sign language “thank you, Mommy.”

For children living with life-threatening illnesses, the kind of joy Blake experienced is a wonder drug. It can infuse weary hearts with hope, help in the healing process and literally change lives.

Learn how you and your colleagues can have a hand in directly granting a wish for a child through group volunteering or event fundraising. Book a 45-minute Lunch and Learn session with The Children’s Wish Foundation Alberta & NWT Chapter in Edmonton by calling 1-800-267-9497 or email ab@childrenswish.ca