Children’s dreams can come true in Greater Victoria

Help Fill A Dream Foundation lunches its fourth annual fundraising campaign in Central Saanich.

Coen Wallace of North Saanich stops to smell the flowers during the launch of the Help Fill A Dream Foundation’s fourth annual fundraising campaign at Central Saanich’s Eurosa Farm.

For the families of Ayvrie Monaghan and Coen Wallace, coping with the stresses of their children’s health concerns has been alleviated by the help of their communities and by the efforts of organizations like Vancouver Island’s Help Fill A Dream Foundation.

Ayvrie, 16 months, and Coen, four, both have had medical conditions that threatened their lives. Ayvrie, from Victoria, was born premature and with a chronic lung disease. Mom, Liz, says her daughter spent the beginning of her life in various levels of intensive care. Coen, from North Saanich, was born with diseased kidneys and received a transplant more than a year ago. His dad Chris said Coen’s transplant was life-changing but he will face future procedures as he grows older.

Today, their parents say the prognosis looks good, but both of the kids will require a lifetime of medication and care.

This month, the Help Fill A Dream Foundation launched its fourth annual fundraising campaign, partnering with Country Grocer, Eurosa Farm in Central Saanich and Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm in Mill Bay. Country Grocer stores Island-wide will be promoting Dream Bouquets (grown by Eurosa Farm), a special six-pack of cupcakes, Christmas trees (from Wintergreen), T-shirts and more to help the Foundation reach its goal of $15,000 this year.

The money, said Foundation Executive Director Chris Smith, is used to fulfil the dreams of 100 Island and Gulf Islands children and their families.

It is also used to help lift the burden of medical costs.

Smith said the Foundation reaches families in three ways: family assistance — helping pay for travel to and from treatment; quality of life — the purchase of specialized equipment, programs and even unique medial treatments, and; dream fulfilment — family vacations, meeting celebrities and more.

“We want to be able to help families stay together,” Smith said. “While we help with the costs of medical treatment and supplies, it’s also about hope.”

Denyse Koo, president of the Foundation, added their work is for children and their families and being able to meet their needs that are not met by the medical system or by government.

“We are so grateful for the help and the support of the community on the Peninsula,’ said Chris, Coen’s dad. “It brings it to the forefront how special this place is.”

The Wallace family hopes to take a big trip now that Coen is doing well.

Liz, Ayvrie’s mom, said the Foundation is hoping to provide much-needed medical equipment for her daughter, adding the costs to the family do add up.

This year’s Help Fill A Dream Foundation campaign at the Island’s Country Grocer locations, runs until December 14.