Shiver Ball Makes Childrens' Wishes Come True

By Scurfield, Maureen | Winnipeg Free Press, March 5, 2018 | Go to article overview

Shiver Ball Makes Childrens' Wishes Come True


Scurfield, Maureen, Winnipeg Free Press


SHIVER BALL GALA: With famous storybook princesses sparkling at the door to pose with guests, the 2018 Children’s Wish Shiver Ball Gala got off to a fun start. The gala, held Feb. 23, attracted 350 guests to the sleek York Ballroom in the RBC Convention Centre.

Everyone was celebrating the 20 fantasy wishes granted in 2017 to children who had been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses — and the crowd that night raised significant money for at least 20 more wishes to be granted for 2018. The Shiver Ball raises money for 20 of the total of 50 wishes granted by Children’s Wish per year.

“Joy is the wonder drug,” said Shiver Ball’s committee chair Art Crawford, of their wish-granting charity for kids.

The Children’s Wish Shiver Ball grossed $135,000 in 2017, says Maria Toscano, director of the Manitoba and Nunavut chapter of Children’s Wish. This year it was $140,000, and the ball will be able to fund at least another 20 kids aged three to 17 and their families, for wishes.

Young speaker Brendan Roberts, 15, who has cystic fibrosis and has to consume 3,000 calories a day to keep up with his body’s special demands, has a disease that will weaken him further as he gets older. Full of personality, Brendan was part of a three-person alternating speech with parents Eric and Angela to emphasize their message to the crowd.

“Life is short, so live it to the fullest.”

They went to New Zealand as a family and tried everything there was to do, together.

In heartwarming videos about 2017 wishes, gala guests learned at least half the younger kids wanted to “go to Disney” on a trip. Among older kids with a travel wish was athletic speaker Katie Sierhuis, 15, who went through difficult cancer treatments. Her wish was to go to Hawaii, where she learned to surf.

Other wish kids had dreams fulfilled like “an electronic wish for my man cave,” a backyard pool right at home, Jedi-training in Florida and spending time with grandparents in Ottawa. One little girl just wanted to meet princesses. At this gala, everyone got to meet recognizable princesses from children’s stories — at the door. The actors were Alexa Peters, Emma Snell, Katelyn Sass, Melissa Wiess, Chelsey Young and Alyssa Chaussé from Heather’s Pretty Parties.

SPOTTED: Jim Slater and wife Glori, founders of K9 Storm, famous for bullet-proof vests for service dogs. Leanne Jones from Prosper Wealth. Master of ceremonies was Brody Jackson of QX 104, who was also the driving force for a wish that raised $65,000 for Children’s Wish.

Also on hand were Dr. Michael Narvey, Dr. Lonny Ross, Dr. Nigel Jones and Dr. Stasa Veroukis, and nurses such as Heather Falk and Tara Fillion, The big front table was full of physicians, surgeons and nurses from Children’s Hospital, who help refer patients to Children’s Wish. Also making the scene: auctioneer Gregg Maidment and his amazing pre-teen daughter Amira from ADESA Auctions helping him onstage with the auction.

The Winnipeg Free Press table included reporter Kevin Rollason, his wife — lawyer Gail MacAulay — and their daughter Mary whom, at age 16, was granted a wish from the organization. Mary has Down syndrome and heart problems, which have necessitated four open-heart surgeries. Says dad Kevin: “We went to Waikiki Beach because Mary loves water and beaches. We had a van and got a beach wheelchair with huge wheels so she could go along the sandy beaches. …

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