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Dreams for Kids helps grant three wishes

Kiowa Wieser-Matthews/FOCUS Ruthanne and her family, left; Karen Umland, fifth from left; and Jett and his family, right, pose for a picture at the Dreams for Kids dinner and raffle.

Participants of the ninth annual Dreams for Kids Bike Run  rode 109 miles on Saturday to raise money for the local chapter of The Make-a-Wish Foundation.

 Following the bike ride, a dinner and raffle were held, with musical accompaniment by the band Fuze.

 Three of the local children who recently benefitted from Dreams for Kids were in attendance: Six-year-old Jett, who wished to go to California to see the Uso brothers, his favorite WWE wrestlers; Ben, age 17, who wished for his older vehicle to be restored to its former pristine condition; and 5-year-old Ruthanne, who wished for a trip to Walt Disney World.

 The kids are all struggling with life-threatening illnesses. Jett was diagnosed with hypoplastic right heart syndrome, which can cause severe cardiac complications and restricted blood flow. Ben suffers from a severe respiratory condition. Ruthanne is currently undergoing treatment for leukemia, a form of blood-based cancer. 

 Ben and Ruthanne’s wishes will be granted through sponsorship by Dreams for Kids. Jett’s wish is being sponsored by the WWE, but Dreams for Kids will have another bike run to raise additional funds for his trip. In this rare instance, Jett will also be granted a second wish, which is to participate in the bike ride. 

 At Saturday’s dinner, Ruthanne and her family said they would be making a quick stop at the Mall of America before heading to Disney World. After some shopping, she and her family will be taken by limousine to the airport. At Disney World, they will stay at a unique resort, which is dedicated to kids with life threatening conditions. The resort has its own amusement park, movie theatre, arcade and  chain of pools. All of the amenities are handicap accessible. 

 Karen Umland, the lead wish granter for the area, was in attendance at Saturday’s Dreams for Kids event. As a wish granter from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, she aims to grant three wishes per year.  Over her five years of volunteering, she has averaged at least 12 wishes per year. She has wish granters from the Twin Cities area who help her to grant so many wishes.

 When asked what people can do to help the cause, Umland said, “We could always use more volunteer wish granters.”