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Carlyle youth wins award after raising $50,260 for children's hospital

Blaze Dunn wanted to help the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital after receiving treatment at the facility.
Blaze Dunn was honoured with the Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award in Regina.

CARLYLE - Blaze Dunn is a happy nine-year-old boy who loves to help other people, especially when it comes to other kids.

Blaze lives with his parents Perry and Carole-Lyne Dunn and two older brothers, Logan and Evan, in the Carlyle area.

Young Blaze is no ordinary kid. He was born with clubfoot, which resulted in three surgeries so far.

At five days of age, he received his first corrective casts and his first tenotomy when he was three months old.

Over the next several years, he had corrective casts and two more surgeries by the time he was five.

Blaze was also born with strabismus (cross eyed) which required surgery around the age of three.

Things seemed to go pretty good for Blaze until August 2022, when he was diagnosed with tethered spine syndrome. He needed further testing before surgery could be performed.

A week after his diagnosis, he was riding his bike and did not stop at the end of his driveway. His mother Carole-Lyne said this is every parents worse nightmare. He was run over by a trailer that was being pulled by a truck, breaking his humerus and femur.

Blaze was airlifted to the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital in Saskatoon, where he underwent surgery. Doctors and the physiotherapists were surprised to see how quickly he healed and gained mobility.

Shortly after this, he received word he was cleared for his spine detethering surgery in May and while in the hospital, he met Saskatchewan Roughriders' running back Frankie Hickson. It was at this time that his relationship with the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation's (JPCHF) team began.

While Blaze was in the children’s hospital, he noticed the donor wall and being a curious boy, he asked what the names were for.

His mother explained to him that philanthropists give from the heart to help other kids. He took this in and wanted to help other kids too, even though Blaze himself had his own struggles.

It began with a lemonade stand and then a bake sale, and Blaze a Trail for Kids was born. More bake sales were held including two rodeos and Carlyle Fun Dayz, and they ran the Manor PBR canteen as well.

Their goal started at $9,000 but soon exceeded that amount, with corporate donors and hometown hero sponsors, along with a $10,000 donation from Bev and Debra Dunn.

Things slowed down in September and Blaze had surgery on his femur break from the previous year. All together this would be his seventh surgery since he was born.

During this time, Blaze was asked by the JPCHF and the Saskatchewan Roughriders Foundation to be their lottery ambassador.

He made several commercials with some of the Roughrider players and then he was invited by the Mosaic Company to perform the coin toss at the Labour Day Classic game.

Blaze was thrilled to be able to spread the word, with his motto being, “Never give up, Never go down and always keep trying.”

On Nov. 8 while in Saskatoon for the JPCHF Radiothon, Blaze had two live radio interviews. It was at this time he announced the amount of his donation that had been collected over the past months.

With the generosity of the people from southeast Saskatchewan, Blaze a Trail for Kids presented a cheque to the JPCHF for the amount of $50,260.

Nov. 14 was another big event for Blaze when he was presented with the Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) South Saskatchewan Chapter in Regina. He was nominated by the JPCHF.

They would like to thank every person and business that made donations for this worthy cause.

Despite a busy year and lots of fundraising, Carole-Lyne said that her son wants to continue with his philanthropy.

Teddy Bears Anonymous is his next project. This non-profit organization collects money for teddy bears and gives them to children in hospitals and palliative care across the province.

These bears mean a lot to these kids when they are facing scary situations as the bears offer comfort.

From now until Christmas, donations will be accepted for the bears. All the proceeds collected will go to Teddy Bears Anonymous for them to purchase bears that will be cello wrapped.

Blaze is very excited about his new adventure, and he hopes to make a lot of people happy with their own special bear.

He still has several surgeries to go over the next few years, but this is his way and his parents' way of giving back to a cause that has given them so much through the past, present and future visits at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, which helps children from across the province.