Dreams for Kids Rally
Synonyms for the word wish include: hope and will. So when you see the Dreams for Kids Rally ride every September cruising down the byways and highways of our area, yes, they are raising money for trips and once-in-a-lifetime events for sick children. But they are also raising spirits, hearts, and the will to fight.
Lacy Schik of New York Mills says for her daughter, Lucille, her wish to go to Disney World was something to focus on other than the cancer.
"I feel like when we were in treatment, it was something else to talk about. We would tell the therapists, the doctors, the nurses, everyone. It definitely is a great distraction," says Lacy. "This gave her something to look forward to and take her mind off how bad she was feeling."
Five-year-old Lucille Schik was diagnosed with Medullomyoblastoma, a form of brain cancer, when she was three and a half.
Lacy says the family was approached and asked if they would be interested in a trip. After that, two wish granters came to see them, explained the process and asked Lucille what she would want for a wish. She said a trip to Disney World so she could meet her favorite Disney character, Doc McStuffins.
Ideally, Dreams for Kids has a goal of fulfilling three wishes a year. They raise enough for at least one, but of course they would like to do more—everyone does. They've done as many as six. The group does several events during the year to raise money. In the spring they have a kickoff fundraiser held at the Silvermoon, which includes entertainment and a silent auction. Then a co-ed softball tournament in the summer and the rally in the fall.
Last Saturday was the 12th annual rally. The ride started at the Silvermoon Lounge and Steakhouse in Perham, headed down main street to Highway 78, went through Henning, Vining, Dalton and Dent, before returning to the Silver Moon for dinner.
Participants paid a $20 entry fee, which included the ride, dinner, live music, a silent and live auction, and new this year was a bean bag toss tournament.
Dreams for Kids was established in 2006, and current President, Wanda Smith, has been apart of it from the beginning.
What's the draw of motorcycle ride and what makes it a popular way to raise funds? Smith says she isn't sure, maybe it's the opportunity to get out in the open and enjoy the beautiful countryside we have in this area, all while raising money for a great cause.
Retired Minneapolis Make-A-Wish board of directors chair Steve Thimjon attended the dinner Saturday, and he says while they hold large events in the Twin Cities, local events like the Dreams for Kids Rally are special because of the passion he sees in people like Wanda.
Thimjon said statewide 255-275 wishes are granted per year. The number they are able to grant all depends on fundraising.
"Every wish deserves to be granted, " he added.
Lucille's wish comes true in November, when she, along with her parents and two younger siblings, Millie, three and Henry, two, will head to the Sunshine state. The family didn't want to take the trip until Lucille was healthy and feeling good. November will be eight months since her last treatment. Lucille's cancer is in remission, and Lacy says they expect she won't need any additional treatment. "We are optimistic," she says.
Lacy says the support doesn't stop with wish being granted. At the dinner on Saturday, previous wish kids came up to Lucy to show her their support. One made Lucille a friendship bracelet, and another gave her $50 she had raised by selling her rock collection.
"I want to make sure we say thank you," says Lacy. "We are so grateful for what they did. It makes all the difference when you know you have a community behind you. It makes everything a little bit easier."