My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Butterfly Garden- One Child’s Wish

As I noted in my Bloggers for Charity wrap-up on Monday, the Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Canada is my favourite charity. Make-A-Wish® grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions and is the largest wish-granting organization in the world.

Today I want to tell you about Rachel, a special girl who was the recipient of a “Wish” and is now a tremendous Wish Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. In addition, I want to draw attention to Rachel’s volunteer wish grantor to provide some perspective on the Make-A-Wish® wish granting process and possibly provide incentive for readers of this blog to become Make-A-Wish® supporters. Being a wish grantor myself, I can tell you that not only is the wish unforgettable for the wish child, but that the experience of assisting in granting a wish is incredibly satisfying.

It is very important to understand that privacy and confidentiality are the cornerstones of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation and that Rachel and her family have provided permission for her name and picture to be used by Make-A-Wish® and for this blog. Permission has also been obtained from the wish grantor for use of their comments. Some Make-A-Wish® children and their families prefer not to have any publicity around their wish and experience, which is always respected.

To give the wish granting process some context, I am going to talk about Rachel’s magical wish for a Butterfly Garden from the perspective of her wish grantor, and from Rachel’s perspective based on a speech she wrote for a recent Make-A-Wish® event, so please excuse any choppiness.

Volunteer Wish Grantor: When we first met Rachel and her family we knew that this was going to be a very special wish. Since being diagnosed with cancer, Rachel has been an inspiration to other children suffering life threatening illnesses. She wrote a book about her experience with cancer called “I can, eye can.” In her book she talks about her passion for animals and her dream of one day becoming a veterinarian.

We were immediately welcomed into her family’s home. During our first visit, Rachel eagerly showed us her backyard and told us about all the plants she wanted in her butterfly garden. Rachel was not only a bright young girl, but she also demonstrated an innate creativity and passion for wildlife. Rachel presented us with a “Butterfly Diagram” which depicted, in great detail, all the components of her dream garden including a pond, bicycle path, swing set, and lush plants to attract a variety of butterfly species. Rachel’s love for butterflies was evident very early on!

Rachel loved to spend time outdoors and most of our visits included burying each other in leaves and pushing Rachel on her swing set. We accompanied Rachel and her mom on a trip to the zoo for the Make-a-Wish® Scavenger Hunt. After an exciting day of looking at the animals, we asked Rachel what her favourite part of the day was and she excitedly replied, “the butterfly garden of course!”

Wish Child, Rachel: When my mom told me I had a deadly cancer called Ocular Melanoma and I would have to have my left eye removed, I was almost 5 and I was devastated.

But one day my mom and I were walking home from school when I spotted five yellow caterpillar machines parked in front of our house. I was speechless. And that’s when my wish for a butterfly garden began to come true.

A job that normally takes months to complete took only five days because of all the incredible volunteers who helped. They tore down our old deck and replaced it with a beautiful stone terrace. They arranged boulders around the yard, and planted flowers, decorative grasses and other wonders.

When it was almost done I looked at the faces of all those people and I was so grateful. And I remember telling them, “I may not know all your names, but I’ll never forget you.”

And so today I’ll say it again to you. I may not know all your names. But I’ll never forget you.

Thank you for helping wishes come true for kids who know what it’s like to have a life-threatening illness. Kids like me.

Volunteer Wish Grantor: When we shared the news with Rachel and her family that her wish was going to come true, her parent’s eyes filled with tears of excitement and Rachel ran laps around the living room. Rachel was going to receive the garden she’d dreamed of. The months that followed were exhilarating. Rachel was ecstatic to be involved in the planning of her garden, especially the opportunity to accompany a landscape designer, in picking out the plants for the garden. As volunteers worked tirelessly, that warm weekend in September, Rachel eagerly joined in. She assisted the volunteers with a variety of tasks from laying sod to planting flowers. Rachel loved to be given special projects to work on! There were many tearful moments as the family expressed their gratitude for the devotion of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to create a magical garden for Rachel. Since the completion of her butterfly garden, Rachel has spent much time playing outdoors with friends.

If you would like to donate to the Make-A-Wish® Foundation to support more magical wishes in 2012, please click this link, if you would like to learn more about volunteering, click this link.

Make-A-Wish® and Rachel recently worked together to achieve a Guinness World Records Title for Largest Human Star. Click here to see a video with Rachel being interviewed by Susan Hay of Global News and more information from the event and record itself.

Not all children choose to be front and centre like Rachel when speaking about their wish experience; however, all children who have wishes granted have unforgettable wish experiences that let them temporarily escape their current medical concerns.

For more information about Make-A-Wish® please visit: http://www.makeawish.ca/

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.