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Dreams for Kids kick-off party Saturday

Mylinda, Rick, Chasity and Paige Johnson, clockwise from left, had the “trip of a lifetime” at Walt Disney World last December, thanks to funds raised by Dreams for Kids and a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Dreams for Kids is gearing up for another year of making wishes come true for local children with life-threatening illnesses.

Last year, the Perham area group raised enough money to grant the wishes of four children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, they’re hoping to do the same.

One of last year’s beneficiaries, nine-year-old Paige Johnson of Perham, got to take a trip to Walt Disney World with her family in December, thanks to Dreams for Kids’ efforts.

In a thank-you card to Dreams for Kids, the Johnson family described their trip as “perfect and above and beyond” their expectations. “Because of people like you, dreams really do come true,” they wrote.

Dreams also came true last year for Joshua Huesman of Lake Park, who got to go on an Alaskan Cruise. Another boy, from Frazee, is going on an Alaskan Cruise later this month. And another, from Perham, got his wish of a new home computer system.

So far this year, Dreams for Kids has already funded a trip to Walt Disney World for Eva Hoaby, a four-year-old from New York Mills who is battling an aggressive brain tumor. And there’s at least one other child waiting in the wings whose wish will come true later this year, as long as the funding is there.

To ensure that it is, Dreams for Kids makes various appearances at community events and trade shows to raise awareness of their mission and sell raffle tickets for a prize drawing that will take place during their main fundraiser, a motorcycle ride in July.

The group will begin its big fundraising push this Saturday, May 18, with a kick-off party at the Brew and Suds from 8 p.m. to midnight. The group is hoping to garner donations and sell a lot of raffle tickets at the kick-off.

“We figure if the kick-off party goes well, then we can jump ahead and take on another two kids for sure,” said Wanda Smith, one of the leading organizers with Dreams for Kids.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each. The grand prize will be a Frigidaire 14.1-cubic-foot freezer stocked with beef, pork and chicken from the Perham Locker Plant. Other prizes include a youth 4-wheeler and children’s playhouse, among many other items.

This summer’s ride – the 2013 Make-A-Wish Dreams for Kids 8th Annual Bike Run – will be held at Pioneer Village in Perham on July 20. The ride will leave at noon, travel through Lakes Country and be back by 5 p.m. The event will include a breakfast and supper, live music, and stories from the families who directly benefit from the fundraiser. The prize drawing will be held at 8:30 p.m.

Dreams for Kids is fortunate to have “Dream Rider” Paul Buendiger riding on their behalf. Buendiger is a dedicated rider who raises thousands of dollars all on his own. Riders raise funds for the cause through sponsorships.

This year, Dreams for Kids will have the added benefit of some new recruits – a group of riders out of Jasper, Minn., who plan to donate all the funds they raise to Dreams for Kids. The group plans to hold its own ride in addition to sending some members to participate in the Perham run, Smith said.

Funds raised by Dreams for Kids are always given to children who live within a five-county radius. The group works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes to local children with life-threatening illnesses.

For more information, or to invite Dreams for Kids members to participate in an event, call Smith at 298-2211.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their young son and daughter, and their yellow Lab.

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