THE BLOG

One Girl's True Wish to Go Camping

07/02/2015 05:30 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT
surfneng/Flickr

It sounds like the request of an average kid -- to be able to go camping with her family -- but for Hailey, this isn't just a want, it's her one true wish.

For the most part, Hailey is just like any other seven-year-old. She is a grade two student at Bridgewater Elementary School and lives with her mom, dad and five older brothers in Dayspring, N.S. However, this past December, Hailey was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, also known as "ALL", a type of blood cancer.

She's been undergoing a variety of treatments at the IWK Healthcare Centre, and it's just the beginning of her journey. Hailey must undergo a total of two and a half years of chemo to beat this disease. It's been a tough road for Hailey, her family and her community.

Her mom told us, "This came as quite a shock to all of us because she had never been sick in the seven years of her life and all she had was a fever. It is our hope that we can find something that will make her feel better and take her mind off her struggle, if only for a little while. We are in the early stages of treatment and there is a long road ahead. As a parent, I hate to see her suffer and would like to give her a reason to smile like she always did before."

Looking forward to a wish is a way to help a child like Hailey, and families like hers, heal. Giving them joy for today, hope for tomorrow, and the strength to face the future. Hailey's wish is to have a pop-up camper so that she can go camping with her family and friends and play in the woods, stare up at the stars, stay up past her bedtime and feel like a seven-year-old girl again.

Her wish is one of the hundreds of wishes that we receive each year at Make-A-Wish® Canada, from children across the country who are facing life-threatening medical conditions. Granting these wishes is a wonderful experience that has a genuinely profound effect, not only on the child, but on their family and all of the caring supporters who make the wish happen.

In fact, evidence suggests that the wish experience makes these children stronger. Seventy-nine per cent of former wish kids confirm that their wish experience marked a turning point in their treatment and recovery and 71 per cent believe the wish a experience contributed to saving their lives. In order to help fulfill these wishes, we rely on the generous support of donors. This past weekend, we were fortunate enough to celebrate a unique new partnership with Go RVing Canada -- an association that seeks to bring as much joy to its audience as we do to our wish kids.

On June 13 and 14, we partnered with Go RVing Canada to launch their first National RV Weekend -- a weekend that celebrates adventure, community and fun. On the 13, campgrounds across Canada came together to sell wish lanterns and LED candles, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to our organization. Campers at each of the participating campgrounds gathered, made a wish of their own and shined their light for our wish children.

This year, our goal is to fulfill 500 wishes for children like Hailey. The proceeds from National RV Weekend, which totalled $20,000, went directly towards this goal and will help children who can't as easily experience the adventure that we all crave.

If you would like to learn more about Make-A-Wish®, our wish kids and how you can help, please visit makeawish.ca.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Best Camping Games For Kids