Duck derby for more Make-A-Wish kids in Saskatchewan


More wishes could come true for sick kids thanks to an upcoming duck derby being held in Swift Current, Sask.

The idea came from two medical warriors, Avery Andres, 16, and Bella Thomson, 7, who have spent nearly 1,700 days combined in hospital over their short lifetimes.

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Andres was diagnosed with Rubinstien-Taybi syndrome and Thomson has severe combined immunodeficiency, Hirschsprung’s disease and cartilage hair hypoplasia — all rare conditions.

Through Make-A-Wish, Andres got a hot tub in September 2019 and a backyard castle was built for Thomson.

Caregiver and event organizer Andrea Orr said the granted wish made the hard medical days so much easier to know Andres could come home and relax in her tub.

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“The two of them together just have decided that their wish has brought them so much joy. And we just wanted to pass that joy along to other wish kids who are still waiting on wishes,” Orr said.

“Just to help other kids reach the level of joy that these kiddos have because you have your ups and downs. But I don’t think people realize the life-changing event that a wish really does bring. So we just want to give that to other kids that haven’t had the opportunity yet.”

The event will feature a duck derby race on Sept. 6, hosted in Riverside Park to support and will also feature a “well wishes” campaign for anyone outside of the province who would like to donate.

“The Swift Current Fire Department is actually going to come out to the event and you’re going to take their ladder truck and hoist the ducks up over the creek and then they’re going to drop all 3,600 ducks at once,” Orr said.

“The top 16 ducks that cross the finish line will win some pretty big prizes. We’ve had everything from a WestJet trip for two to anywhere … or gift baskets.

“There’s also a well wishes campaign … it’s a personalized card that you can make for the girls.”

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Orr said they hope to raise at least $50,000, with an average cost of $10,000 per wish.

“Our biggest hope is just that we can raise as much money as possible to grant wishes to other kids who are still waiting. Make-A-Wish, currently has 230 kids just in Saskatchewan waiting on wishes,” she said.

“I think we’re just hoping that especially Saskatchewan’s steps up and helps these two girls, help other wish kids get their wishes that are waiting. So we’re really hoping for the community support. We’ve already got it on the sponsor end. So now we just need to sell some ducks and some well-wishers.”

Ducks at $10 or three for $25 went on sale Monday for anyone currently in Saskatchewan.

Swift Current is approximately 230 km west of Regina.

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