Santa may be the one delivering gift boxes packed full of wish-list items and other treats to young guests at Shine Through the Rain Foundation’s Pediatric Christmas party Friday, but the organization itself and an army of volunteers and supporters have set the stage for joy.
The Newmarket-based foundation supports patients and families with financial help when they’re struggling through a life-threatening illness. Funded entirely by donors, the organization’s Rainy Day Fund provides relief for such things as hospital parking fees, utility and other bills.
But this party at Cardinal Golf Club is about giving the children and their families an evening away from hospitals and treatment plans, a chance for them to leave their worries behind and enjoy a magical night, program services and fund development manager Sarah-Lou Tomlin said.
“We did something different this year, in that we asked the families to provide three wish list items for each child attending, and we put them into an Amazon wish list,” Tomlin said. “The local community really got behind that and they’ve been purchasing from the wish list and shipping to our office. Each child attending will get a gift box from Santa which contains their wish list items.”
Santa will undoubtedly be the main event to the 63 children attending between the ages of nine months and 18 years old, but organizers have planned an eclectic roster of entertainment and activities to round out the event.
The night’s line-up includes Rachel Stewart, aka Elsa of York Region, magician Scott Dietrich, a pamper station for the moms put on by Newmarket’s The Hair Company, Moon Booth Digital Photography, Playscapes, face-painting by Em & M Parties and Events, and Heart Strings Studio of Newmarket will provide the tunes.
“We’ve managed to get such amazing people who have donated their time,” Tomlin said. “And, we’ve got a whole army of volunteers from Desjardins Insurance that are coming to help us out and we’re really excited about that, as well.”
The 119 guests will feast on a holiday meal of turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings, with a few chicken fingers thrown in for good measure for some of the children, said Tomlin with a laugh.
The chance to enjoy the pleasantries of holiday time is one that will also be appreciated by Shine Through the Rain Foundation, Tomlin said. The organization regularly hears “incredibly heartbreaking” stories about the struggles and challenges people face when confronted with a life-changing illness.
“Last month, we had to decline 33 per cent of the applications because we did not have enough funding,” said Tomlin. “That’s very difficult to deal with as we’re on a very limited budget.”To learn more about Shine Through the Rain Foundation or to donate, visit here.