Trip a dream come true for Coen

Donation by CIBC Wood Gundy on Miracle Day helps North Saanich family,

CIBC Wood Gundy financial advisor Jake Brumby presents a cheque for $10

Tanis Wallace says her son Coen, 5, began kindergarten this year and is happy and healthy.

The pair from North Saanich attended CIBC Wood Gundy’s 31st annual Miracle Day in Victoria Wednesday and were greeted with a surprise. Financial advisors, staff and clients of the firm donated to the family $10,000 for a trip to Hawaii in February.

The donation was made through the Help Fill A Dream Foundation, which has supported the Wallace family since Coen was diagnosed with kidney problems after he was born. In 2013, said Tanis, Coen had a kidney transplant and since then has been making regular trips to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for checkups every three months.

Craig Smith, executive director of the Foundation, said Coen and his family are being helped with travel, and medical costs — and now this dream trip to the Walt Disney Resort in Hawaii.

“We have supported 2,145 Island kids since we started 30 years ago,” he said, noting they help provide home renovations for children with special needs, equipment and more, to ease the financial burden on their families.

“The dream trips are the icing on the cake, the fun stuff,” Smith said. “And this is a small reward for families who have gone through so much.”

Tanis said Coen’s kidney was donated by a family member.

‘He’s got a really good kidney now,” she said. “It was a perfect match.”

Coen himself looked like he was ready to go, after CIBC staff also donated some swim and snorkel gear for the family’s trip.

Neil Chappell, an investment advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in Victoria, said this Miracle Day saw $80,000 in donations given to various local charities. Miracle Day, he said, is held by the firm on the first Wednesday of every December and started 31 years ago. In that time, across the country, they have raised around $80 million for charity.

This year, donations were awarded to the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, Victoria Foundation, B.C. Childhood Cancer Parent’s Association, KidSport and a  local Pathfinders group with Girl Guides.