Olivia Almond’s beaming smile expressed what words could not when her fellow students, educators, support workers, fellow drummers, and her family and friends gathered on May 30th to hear a special announcement: Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario Canada has granted her wish to send Olivia and her family to Ottawa for the 2018 Canada Day celebrations.
The Georgian Bay Community School gymnasium was full of Olivia’s biggest fans during a Red and White Day on May 30th to hear the announcement.
Sixteen-year-old Olivia suffers from a nervous system disorder and can not speak. Her mother Shirley Almond explained Olivia’s wish to attend the Canada Day celebrations.
“Olivia is proud to live in Canada where she sees and recognizes people who are different. My husband Vern and I are proud to raise our family in a country that accepts diversity. When better to celebrate Canada’s diversity then on Canada Day,” Shirley said. “Besides, Olivia’s dad has never been to Ottawa and Olivia would really like to take her dad to Ottawa. And…Olivia loves big parties.”
Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario is a chapter of the international non-profit organization that finances wishes for critically-ill youth ages 3-17 years. The intent is to ease the fears and sadness of living with critical illness, to replace them with confidence and joy, according to volunteer wish granters Danielle Butler and Kelly Collver.
Olivia was nominated for a Make-A-Wish grant by her family care worker Jenn Ottewell.
The Almonds trip to Ottawa will include Circle du Soleil and RCMP Musical Ride performances, and a reception with Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller.
The Elemental World Drum Choir of Owen Sound, of which Olivia is a member, led a procession into the gymnasium and enveloped Olivia and her parents in a drumming circle performance.
The Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario chapter expects to reach its goal of 1,400 wishes since its inception in 1981 sometime during the year 2018.