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Children's Wish Foundation sends family to Disney World

Riley Donison is just about to begin Grade 4. He is a very energetic and inquisitive child who is very curious about his surroundings and loves interacting with the things around him.
The Donison family will be going to Disney World in October thanks to the Children's Wish Foundation. The parents are Shauna and James Donison and their children are, from front left, Riley, Kira, and Brina. Riley is currently in the process of winning a fight against cancer. Riley chose a Disney Land trip for his wish after hearing stories from a nurse he became friends with who went to Disney World during Riley's treatment. See the Weyburn Review for related story.

Riley Donison is just about to begin Grade 4. He is a very energetic and inquisitive child who is very curious about his surroundings and loves interacting with the things around him. It's hard to believe that this boy was confined to a wheelchair a few months ago. Riley is currently in the maintenance stage of a battle with Burkitts Lymphoma, a rare type of cancer.

This is the final stage in his winning fight against cancer where he had to endure many surgeries and needles, especially for someone so young. Riley currently has monthly check-ups for his progress in recovery weekly blood work done at the Weyburn General Hospital. He also has to travel to Regina every three months for an MRI. Now that he is healthy again he has a lot to look forward to such as returning to school, and a trip to Disney World for him and his family through the Children's Wish Foundation.

"They helped us a lot. With (Riley's) wish, they gave him exactly what he asked for. He's been through a lot of testing, a lot of needles, surgeries, and this is kind of his reward for going through all of that," said James Donison, Riley's father.

"I get to go (to Disney World) in October. I'm excited to meet Buzz and Woody," said Riley.

He is a big Toy Story fan, and got the idea to wish for a trip to Disney World when a nurse he befriended through his treatment took a trip to Disney World. When she returned she brought Riley a "Toy Story" hat, and told him lots of stories about her trip. This really sparked Riley's initial interest in a possible trip. Now Riley and his family will get to take the trip this fall.

"Before all this happened he was immobile. He couldn't move, he had a wheelchair for about three or four months. Now he's running around and riding his bike again. It's a 100 per cent improvement," said James. "He'd rather be running around the whole place instead of being stuck in a chair. He's one of those kids that likes to go, go, go."

The Donisons learned about the Children's Wish Foundation through Riley's oncologist. He told James, and his wife Shauna, that if Riley wants to he can make a wish through the Children's Wish Foundation. They had heard of the foundation in the past, but were not overly familiar with it. After reading a few pamphlets James made the call, and the wheels were put in motion for Riley's wish to be granted.

"I got the ball rolling, and talked to somebody there. The volunteers there are great with dealing with families like us. I heard from other families who have dealt with them and it's been nothing but positive," said James.

Riley doesn't know for sure what rides he will go on yet, but is very excited for the special Halloween attractions that will be set up at Disney World. His parents are sure he will want to ride everything in sight.

Representatives from the Children's Wish Foundation are currently hard at work promoting their organization through the Wishes and Dreams Tour. The goal of the tour is to spread the word of what the foundation is about and that they're here to help kids with serious illnesses. The Wishes and Dreams Tour is being partnered with the Children's Wish Home Lottery.

"The lottery started on Aug. 2, and all the proceeds raised from ticket sales will go to help grant wishes for kids in Saskatchewan," said wish coordinator Stacie Driedger.

The earlybird draw date is Sept. 15 and the grand prize draw is on October 4. Tickets can be purchased at The Wish Home Lottery is one of the biggest annual fundraisers that the Children's Wish Foundation conducts.

"Currently there are about 76 children with wishes on the go in Saskatchewan, these include wishes that are just being applied for, wishes that are just starting to be granted, and wishes that are almost ready. Around the Weyburn and Estevan area we've granted about 24 wishes, and there are two on the go in this area," said Driedger.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Children's Wish Foundation is that they just grant wishes for terminal children. This is not the case. While they do grant wishes for terminal children they will try to grant a wish for any child who has a high risk disease, such as cancer.

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