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Coffee Cove teen an example of how Ride for Wishes makes dreams come true

Ria Colbourne with her family, from left, Ashton, Evan, Ria, Logan, Sharlene and Kenny.
Ria Colbourne with her family, from left, Ashton, Evan, Ria, Logan, Sharlene and Kenny.

COFFEE COVE, NL — When 14-year-old Ria Colbourne of Coffee Cove was granted a wish by the Children’s Wish Foundation, she knew just what she wanted to do.

“She wanted to swim with the dolphins in Hawaii. That was Ria’s number one wish,” said the teen’s stepmother, Sharlene Oram. “She screamed and cried when they told her (her wish had been granted).”
Ria became extremely ill in June 2016.
“She had lost her ability to walk. She had lost her ability to control her urine. It was a nightmare,” said Oram. “We were at the Janeway the 27th of June (2016). They did an MRI and she was diagnosed on the 30th with schwannoma tumors.”
A schwannoma is a tumour of the tissue that covers nerves, called the nerve sheath.
“The tumours were inside her spinal column, pressing on her spinal cord,” Oram said.
Ria had a spinal surgery in July 2016. In September, she had a second surgery to remove tumours from her shoulder blade right down into her rib cage, said Oram.
Ria is doing well, Oram said, and will be followed closely by her team of doctors at the Janeway Children’s Hospital. She said Ria has been a trooper through her illness and surgeries.
“It’s amazing what can happen in a year,” Oram said. “This year on June 30 she was gone off to camp by herself in Ontario. Last year on June 30 she was diagnosed (with the tumours).”

Fourteen-year-old Ria Colbourne getting friendly with a dolphin.

Wish for the whole family
The wish trip was for Ria, her 10-year-old brother Logan, her father Kenny, and Oram. Ria’s stepbrothers, Ashton and Evan, also joined the family on the vacation of a lifetime.
The trip unfolded from May 28-June 6 after nurses at the Janeway put Ria’s name forward for a wish.
The vacation was everything the family hoped it would be and more, Oram said.
“We never stopped,” she said. “We did a tour of the island, we swam with the sea turtles, we visited the zoo, we visited the aquarium, we went on an authentic luau.”
Edie Newton, executive director of Children’s Wish Foundation NL, said a 2017 Children’s Wish impact study revealed that wishes have a positive and lasting impact on wish children and their families, beyond the experience of the actual wish.
Wishes aid the overall healing process, provide a distraction that helps children cope with the emotional and physical stress of treatment, improve family cohesion, and inspire wish children in long-lasting ways, she said.
To date, Newton said, Children’s Wish has granted 25,000 wishes across Canada, including more than 825 here in Newfoundland and Labrador, since 1986.
“We expect to grant between 35-45 wishes in 2017,” she said.
Oram reiterated just how thankful she and Ria’s father Kenny are to the foundation for making Ria’s wish come true.
“This was Ria’s dream. She will forever remember it,” she said.


Springdale’s Ride for Wishes ready to roll

Brenda and Everett Butt presented 14-year-old Ria Colbourne with her Roary. Once a child or youth receives the stuffed lion, they know they have been granted a wish by the Children’s Wish Foundation.

By Danette Dooley
Special to the NorWester
SPRINGDALE, NL – You could say that Everett and Brenda Butt are in the business of granting wishes.
The husband and wife team head the Children’s Wish Foundation’s Green Bay/White Bay Subchapter. They have both been involved with Children’s Wish for about 15 years.
In addition to the annual ATV ride, the Butts coordinate the area’s annual Wish Maker Walk in October.
Volunteering with Children’s Wish is very satisfying, Everett said. Thanks to community support, the subchapter has granted 13 wishes.
Visiting a family and giving the child a Roary, the Children’s Wish Foundation mascot, is “what keeps us going,” he said.
“When a wish has been (approved), you go to the child’s home and give them a Roary. That makes it official that they will get their wish, and the family knows that,” Everett said. “Sometimes the child cries — sometimes the parents cry right along with them.”
Ninety per cent of the wishes involve a trip to Disneyland, Butt said.
The average cost of a wish is $10,000. All money raised by the sub-chapter stays in the area, he said.
Everett and Brenda are grateful, not only for the community support, but for the Children’s Wish volunteers who help with all the events.
Children’s Wish isn’t the only charity where Everett and Brenda volunteer their time. Everett looks after the Salvation Army Happy Tree every fall – a volunteer initiative he’s been involved with for over two decades. Brenda also helps out with the Happy Tree undertaking and spends time volunteering with the area’s Community Living Group.
Everett said volunteering brings much happiness to their lives.
“We enjoy it a lot. We really do,” he said.
 

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