Make a Difference
by sarah_P on December 15, 2017 - 6:05pm
Make a Difference
There are so many kinds of different illnesses that are unknown and that we might never know about, on the other hand I’ve always wondered what causes certain types of diseases such as different types of cancer or the body lewy dementia or even how a hernia can appear on the spinal cord. I was curious to know what can help heal those diseases. I can say that in my family, we do not have so much luck because my grandparents, my uncle and my aunt on my dads side passed away because of cancer and my grandmother on my mother’s side, survived breast cancer twice! This is why this year I decided to focus on health and search for organizations that are reaching out to sick individuals who are fighting for their lives. For this project I wanted to volunteer with two organizations that are supporting sick children and who are creating a better life for them. These organizations are Operation Enfant Soleil and the Make-A-Wish foundation. These two organizations are offering anyone who is willing to contribute in making a difference in the children’s lives, a chance to go gift wrapping and sell gift bags during the month of December to collect money.
Let’s talk about the organizations. Operation Enfant Soleil Is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1998 by the centre hospitalier Laval. They raise funds to help develop a high-quality paediatrics which includes having new technological machines in the hospitals, prevention and awareness programs and also to contribute to social health projects for all the sick children in Quebec (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). The money they raise goes towards regional organization, health and services institutions and paediatric hospitals such as the CHU de Quebec, the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Center and CHU Sainte-Justine (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). Operation Enfant Soleil has raised more than 210 million dollars since 1988 where the funds were given to major pediatrics centres, regional hospitals and organizations across Quebec (www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). To add to this incredible news, according to https://www.lesoleil.com, on their 29th year anniversary of Telethon, the organization gathered the sum of $18,620,721 on a show that lasted 25 hours. Apart of that, there are many opportunities to volunteer with Operation Enfant soleil where you can do garage sales, spaghetti dinners, during halloween where kids will bring a box with them that comes from Enfant Soleil to collect money and also during the Holidays where you can do what I did which was gift wrapping and selling gift bags.
Operation Enfant Soleil has helped many children and one of them is Jeremy Plourde,a 14 years old boy who is suffering from a deficiency called humoral immune deficiency, severe asthma, dystonia and hypertension (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). He is a Enfant Soleil and when he is being asked why he wanted to become an Enfant Soleil he responds, “ I wanted to create hope and courage for the other children suffering from this deficiency and also for their family. When we have people surrounding us, we go get a lot of force. I can help Operation Enfant Soleil to put a sun in the cloudy sky of those children.” When Jeremy was young, his parents knew that something was wrong. He would not gain weight and would constantly cry, he could not stand on his own and his body wouldn’t develop as fast as the body of other babies would develop (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). Because of his disease, Jeremy has to go through many mandatory therapies such as; physiotherapy, orthophonie, get an occupational therapist and relearning to swallow (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). Even after getting doses and doses of immunoglobulin, his condition is getting worse as years are passing by and the family is continuously worried about their son but they are staying positive that one day it might get better (https://www.operationenfantsoleil.ca). It is for children like this that Operation Enfant Soleil is working hard to collecting money year round.
For the volunteer opportunity with the organization Operation Enfant Soleil, on December 9th, 2017 I went to sell gift bags and popcorn at the walmart in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The things I had on the table included; pens and notepads that were written Operation Enfant Soleil on them, necklaces, coffee cups with chocolate and candies in them, bags with nail polish and makeup, candles and many more. I volunteered for three hours and I have to say that this felt truly amazing. I had my own stand and to see how many people were coming to support this organization it warmed my heart up because I never thought I would make so much money within three hours with gifts that ranged from 2-10 dollars. I made about $120 that day and this money, the money that I made will go towards new machines that will help improve the medical conditions of those children. I think that there is nothing that is more satisfying then knowing that my little contribution will change a life.
The second volunteer opportunity was on december 1rst I went to the Carrefour Industrielle on Saint. Catherine’s street in Montreal to go gift wrapping for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Since it was the first day that we could volunteer for this event and that it was so early in the month, we did not get a huge clientele. I volunteered for 4 hours and even though I did not dedicate a lot of time, I believe that it is not the amount of time you give but the actual act of giving your personal time to this organization that makes a difference. We were about 70 volunteers for the whole month and we would be three to wrap up the gifts for four hours. During this opportunity, I learned that people can be very generous when it comes to supporting a cause like the Make-A-Wish foundation. I also believe that this was a life changing experience because it made me realise how good it feels to make good deeds and to help out people who are in need. It is definitely something that I would redo every year simply because it feels great, it filled my heart with joy. I know that the money we made will help a child have his wish granted.
For example, the funds that were collected during the other years help the wish of a little boy named Kaleb who is 8 years old get granted. Kaleb has a disease called osteogenesis
imperfecta, said Kaleb’s doctor, Dr. Frank Rauch in a video that Make-A-Wish Quebec created. Osteogenesis imperfecta is also known as the brittles bone disease where the bones are very fragile and can break easily. Dr. Frank Rauch says that it touches 1 person on 10,000 which means that kaleb is the unlucky little one. There is no cure for this disease but there is surgical operations, medical and readaptation that is available (Rauch, 2016). Dr. Rauch quoted, “Children come here every six months and receive an intravenous treatment that takes about an hour, which strengthens the bones and makes them less brittle.” His condition can become life threatening because when the bones on the thorax are fragile, the lungs have difficulty to develop properly and this can create breathing problems, Dr. Rauch said. At the age of three, kaleb received his hundredths bone fracture. His family then decided to get in contact with the Make-A-Wish Quebec foundation to get Kaleb have his wish granted. This little boy loves insects and his family decided to surprise him. On the 10th anniversary of the 48-Hour Ride, Make-A-Wish Quebec brought an insect hunter to the event and haleb got to meet him, on top of the… he found out that he would be going on a trip to Costa Rica with his family and the insect hunter to hunt insects (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZjngzEgcOg). This organization is there to fulfill the lives of those children with joy,hope and strength.
The organization was founded in 1980 and more than 350,000 children had their dream come true and wish granted. They take in children from ages three to seven-teen years old, and who has life-threatening medical conditions, Christianne who is the head of the department of the event I went too on december 1st. She also said that the child does not need to be in the terminal phase but they can also be in remission for their wish to be granted. Make-A-Wish foundation is the largest wish-granting organization in the world (https://makeawishqc.ca). There are offices in more than 50 countries around the world where Make-A-Wish Quebec is part of Make-A-Wish Canada and Make-A-Wish Canada is part of Make-A-Wish international (Christianne, 2017). I cooperated with the Make-A-Wish Quebec which means that the money that was raised that night went towards granting the wishes of the children in Quebec. Although, there are many volunteer opportunities where you can get involved with the organization itself and where you can choose where your money goes such as; creating your own fundraising event, Donate toys or money or going to organized events like going to wrap up gifts during the month of December. I believe that even though wrapping up gifts was not a huge event and that I did not get to meet the sick children, I got to contribute in what will bring some happiness to their lives, having their wish granted.
Below is a video of 48-Hour Ride announcing Kaleb he will get his wish granted:
This is Kaleb and his family:
Finally, this project was a turning point in my life that made me realise how good it feels to dedicate our time to organizations like Operation Enfant Soleil and the Make-A-Wish foundation. Both organizations aim to create a better life for the sick children around the world but in this case, in Quebec. It is not hard to give three to four hours of your time to wrap up gifts, pack groceries, do spaghetti dinners or even creating your own event. This little move you are making might change the life of a children in need. Please take the time, it feels good. It might not change much in your life but it will change thousands of other lives.