On Friday, December 23rd, 2005, Lucas Braun of Wingham and his family experienced the power of a wish come true. Lucas’ wish was the 500th to be granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southwestern Ontario, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Eight-year-old Lucas is battling Morquio Syndrome. He asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southwestern Ontario to help make his most cherished wish a reality. More than anything else, Lucas wanted to meet his hockey heroes, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lucas made his wish shortly before the hockey strike. Rather than changing his wish Lucas decided to wait, saying he was on strike too. Lucas’ family says it was certainly worth the wait.
From start to finish, Lucas was treated like a star. The family’s neighbours gathered in their driveway to watch them be whisked away in a glamourous stretch limousine. Lucas, along with his parents and three siblings, took in many of Toronto’s area attractions, including the CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, and Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant. But of course the very best part was attending the Maple Leafs’ game and meeting Tie Domi, Eddie Belfour and their fellow teammates. Lucas’ wish was made possible through the outstanding assistance of Make-A-Wish® supporters Doug Wilson, President and C.O.O. of SONY of Canada Ltd., Toronto Maple Leafs player Tie Domi, and the Investment Planning Counsel, all of whom donated tickets for Lucas and his family to attend the game. Lucas’ wish was adopted by Great-West Life Assurance Company through their annual golf tournament.
Meeting the players was an incredible experience for Lucas. Not only did Lucas and his family get to meet Tie Domi and Eddie Belfour, but Lucas was treated to a private “tour” of the locker room by Tie Domi, where he got his picture taken with some of the Toronto Maple Leafs players and even the coaches. Tie gave all the kids personally autographed pictures, he signed all their jerseys, and later both he and Eddie Belfour gave Lucas autographed hockey sticks.
Lucas’ mom Debbie says, “I had the opportunity to see pure joy in my son’s eyes, and true happiness in his smile. There are lots of days that Lucas really has no reason to smile or even laugh, but he does through all his pain and daily struggles anyway. But as his mom I was able to see how truly happy he was for those couple of days.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Since its inception in 1986, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southwestern Ontario has granted over 500 wishes in a territory that includes 15 counties. In 2006, the Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To learn more about the magic of a wish, please visit www.makeawish.ca