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“She was diagnosed with a Wilms tumour just before her 5th birthday," said her father, Cam. “There were some immediate symptoms, and she was rushed to the hospital to have her kidney removed.”
Cam explained that while they were in the hospital, thinking about ways they could turn this into a positive, the family batted around the idea of a trip to Disneyland once Aine recovered. At the time, they didn’t even know about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But Suzanne Horn at BC Children’s hospital told Aine about Make-A-Wish, and made the referral. Aine wished to go to Disneyland—she was in love with all the Disney princesses, and especially liked the idea of meeting Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
“The whole thing was absolutely unbelievable—the trip of a lifetime,” said Cam. “There are things about that trip that we still bring up ten years later. At the time of her treatment, she wasn’t an emotional kid about it. She just rode the wave. But the first real time, after her treatment, that we talked about her upcoming trip, that’s when we saw her joy come out. She dropped her stoicism, and we saw the sparkle return to her eyes.”
Cam said that ever since Aine’s wish experience, he has felt compelled to give back to the organizations that helped their family through that difficult time. Cam estimates that they’ve collected and donated around $20,000 over the years.
In 2017, Cam figured it was time to repay some kindness to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.
Cam, as a contributor to Vancouver Canucks fan blog CanucksArmy.com, wondered if he could use his connection to get something going.
“I reached out to the managing editor and pitched my idea, and since then I’ve taken the lead on organizing.”
If you’re a Canucks fan, and a follower of the Canucks Army blog, you may have seen Cam’s fundraising work in action. He started an online fundraiser for Make-A-Wish, asking anyone to pledge on anything related to the Canucks, with collected pledges being donated to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon at the end of the season. He called it ‘Canucks Money on the Board’, and the premise was simple. Create your own pledge, and donate money. For example: donate $25 for any Markström shutout. Or, donate $2 for any Canucks powerplay goal throughout the season. Whatever you want.
The pledges started rolling in.
In late in 2017, things got serious when Cam and a colleague decided to do a secondary fundraiser: create a shirt that raised funds for Make-A-Wish, and celebrated the flowing golden locks—and rookie season—of Canucks right winger Brock Boeser, who has been a shining star in the Canucks lineup.
#TheFlow t-shirts and hoodies were created. They went on limited sale, and in almost no time, the fundraiser made $9,000 for Make-A-Wish. People scrambled to get this simple shirt, which features nothing more than an outline of blonde hair on a dark background and #TheFlow printed below it. Fans loved it, and they loved the cause it supported. Once the limited sale was over, Cam fielded requests to do another sale.
And where is Aine through all this?
“Aine is doing great,” said Cam. “She’s in the 11th grade now. She landed her first job. As jobs go, it wasn’t that glamorous, just seasonal work at the mall, but it was newfound responsibility, and she enjoyed it.”
We’re glad that Aine is doing well and very thankful to her dad for creating such a successful FUNdraiser for the granting of future wishes at Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon!