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Blaze a trail for wish kids


This isn’t your average, everyday walk for a cause.

This is an event in which you will have to jump in with both feet. It will bring you satisfaction, and, more importantly, it will help make wishes come true for those who need them most.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of B.C. and the Yukon is conducting the Trailblaze Challenge this September. It’s a 40-kilometre walk through Manning Park for between 75 and 100 participants who will be required to raise $2,000 each for the cause.

“We have wish kids who come from all pockets of B.C. and the Yukon,” Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon marketing director Stuart Chase says. “These kids are your neighbours. These are your kids’ friends at school. Sometimes they’re seen. Sometimes they’re not. As a basic human principle, we just believe that we all have the ability to help raise each other up, and Trailblaze is a unique way to make a contribution.

“In doing a walk like this, you also have the chance to push yourself and maybe just experience a tiny slice of the challenge, in the course of one day, that wish kids have to face day after day after day as they go through battling a critical illness.”

The Trailblaze Challenge will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14, but it is a weekend-long event. Participants will arrive on Friday, stay at Manning Park Resort and begin the trek before dawn on Saturday. The fundraising amount covers the stay at the resort.

“We really want people to realize that even though it is 40 kilometres in a day, it’s built into an otherwise very relaxing, inspiring weekend,” Chase says. “The Manning Park Resort is the host for this, so there are great amenities there. There’s going to be great food, the hot tub is waiting for you at the end of it, and the walking course is quite flat. We don’t want people to feel intimidated by the distance and just come on out.”

Make-A-Wish would like to have the field filled by June so registrants can get started on fundraising and train for the event if they so choose. Hike leaders will be provided to coach people through what may seem like an intimidating challenge for some.

“There are the occasional elite trail runners who come along, and they may knock it out in a couple of hours, but for the most part this is about everyday people coming together as teams,” Chase says. “They’ll encourage each other through this, and they’ll spend a really nice day walking in the woods.”

Trailblaze Challenges have been happening in the U.S. for years, but this will be the first one in Canada. Some U.S. Make-A-Wish chapters even have two of them in a year, so the B.C. and Yukon chapter is hoping to grow it into an annual event—or perhaps even a biannual event.

The Challenge is for those from all walks of life. “We certainly hope that all participants will rise to the full challenge and go the 40 kilometres,” Chase says.

However, there will be numerous exit routes along the course if participants have to bow out.

“And that will be OK,” Chase added, “because the main mission is to raise money and make wishes come true for deserving kids.”

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