By Justin Seward
A horseback ride in the Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park is a breath taking experience that one should not pass up if the opportunity presents itself, but knowing you are taking a ride to help sick children’s dreams come true is every bit its weight of gold.
The sixth annual Alberta Wish Ride, which is now the Cypress Hills Wish Ride, will take place at the Historic Reesor Ranch on Sept. 9 to help raise funds in support of Children’s Wish of Alberta, who grants a wish to those children between the ages of three and 17 who are diagnosed with a life threatening illnesses.
Irene White and Roger Matas originally started the Alberta Wish Ride back in 2009 and hosted the event for eight years before asking Scott and Theresa Reesor to continue the event.
“They wanted to take on less and less than what they were taking on themselves,” said Scott.
“They were still involved last year but didn’t want to carry it on themselves … (and) figured it was a cause worthwhile and we still host the event here at the ranch. If they (the wish kids) can have a great thing happen to them then they could possibly change the whole course that they are going on. We’re just happy to be able to host it here at the ranch and be a part of the whole atmosphere and giving back to brothers who are less fortunate.”
Scott said for them there has been any direct relations to the Children’s Wish Foundation but there have been kids in the past who have attended the event and have had a wish fulfilled.
“It’s a group of riders who get together and we go once a year for a trail ride,” said Andrea Slofstra, Cypress Hills Wish Ride Coordinator along with the Reesors.
Slofstra found inspiration to help with the ride after a number of years ago when she walked into the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital a number of years ago and for her the experience was an eye-opener because life issues do not compare to what these kids have to endure.
“When I heard about it from a friend of mine from back home in Saskatchewan who had gone on it and I just thought ‘this is such a great cause to get involved in and raise as much money as I can and grant wishes for kids,” said Slofstra.
“I love raising money for it and I hope we can keep going with it.”
There will be a one and four hour trail ride available where the rider will pick which one they want to go on.
The riders will have to raise a minimum of $100 that can be funded by themselves or get help through pledges and are encouraged to raise more and asked to have an Alberta Equestrian Federation or a Saskatchewan Horse Federation membership.
Sign-up can be done through emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Slofstra at (403) 502-0029.
In the eight years, the ride has raised over $350,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada for the Alberta and Northwest Territories chapter.