Wishmaker walk will let Clara swim with dolphins
Clara Howorth had no symptoms before being taken to hospital in February with flu-like symptoms.
Five days later, when the results came back from a bone marrow biopsy, Clara’s parents were shocked at the diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Their once-active daughter was going to have to undergo rounds and rounds of chemotherapy.
They are now at the beginning of a two-and-a-half-year program, with doctors following up with Clara, who turned six on Wednesday, until she’s 18 years old.
“Right now we are going every 10 days for chemo treatment. Sometimes by intravenous and sometimes by lumbar puncture,” said Andrea Howorth, Clara’s mother.
A lumbar puncture is a procedure where the chemo drugs are injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord to kill any cancer cells.
“She’s had close to a dozen already in the past seven months,” Howorth said about the lumbar puncture treatment.
“They insert chemo, but they also test the cells to confirm she’s in remission and that the cancer is less than five per cent traceable in her body.”
Soon after the diagnosis, the family was contacted by the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Clara’s wish is to go to Hawaii and swim with dolphins.
“It’s something we wouldn’t do as a family, especially at her young age. It’s something we couldn’t afford to do, so it’s a very special dream of hers,” said Howorth.
“Thinking about this wish puts a smile on our faces during some of the more challenging times, for sure.”
So, at the first Ridge Meadows Wishmaker Walk for Wishes, Clara will be taking on the role of walk marshall, giving the three-command start at the beginning of the walk.
The five-kilometre walk will take place at the Albion Fairgrounds, off of Lougheed Highway on 105th Avenue, on October 13.
Local children’s entertainer Dilly the Clown is hoping to create the largest team ever in order to raise $1,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation.
So far $850 has been raised.
Dilly will also be offering prizes to the top fundraisers.
Four team members under the age of 5 who raise the most money will win a ride in Dilly’s circus wagon at the walk and the team member under the age of seven who raises the most money will win a free birthday party with Dilly and his puppet friends.
More than 100 communities across Canada will be taking part in the annual Wishmaker Walk for Wishes.
Since 2005 the walk has raised close to $200,000 across the province and over $9 million across Canada.
The Children’s Wish Foundation was established in 1984 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.
Registration time is at 11 a.m., the walk start time is at noon and there will be a celebration at 1 p.m..
The celebration, which runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., will have live musical entertainment and carnival games for the children.
After the Ridge Meadows walk Howorth is planning to thank everyone for their support in their time of need.
“We’re very thankful for Children’s Wish,” said Howorth.
“It’s exciting knowing we can dream about a happier time when she’ll be done her treatment and we can have an exciting experience as a family.”
• For more information or to register for the walk or donate go to http://www.childrenswish.ca/wishmaker/.