Red Deer Dairy Queen locations are celebrating a huge milestone after they passed $1,000,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
The milestone was passed on Miracle Treat Day, with hundreds of Central Albertans stopping into one of the four Dairy Queen locations to pick up a Blizzard in support of 14 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton and the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.
Kayla Baayens, 11, who will be attending West Park Middle School in the fall, has benefited directly from the Children’s Miracle Network after she was diagnosed with a rare form of juvenile arthritis and received treatment at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Kayla’s father Dean Baayens said the treatment from the Alberta Children’s hospital changed his daughter’s life — considerably improving her quality of life.
“She had an underlying condition that flared up,” he said. “We didn’t really know what it was and we were referred to the Children’s Hospital by the people here in Red Deer.
“We got down to Calgary and she immediately saw all the specialists. They diagnosed her within three to four hours with juvenile arthritis.”
Kayla began treatment that very same day for the condition which caused her neck to completely seize up among several complications and she now receives weekly injections from home, as well as needing to return to the Children’s Hospital every three months due to the progressive nature of her diagnosis.
“Within three to five days her neck started going back to normal and she has been receiving treatment since then which was just about three years ago,” Dean said.
The treatment has allowed Kayla to progress from screaming throughout the night to now being able to ride her bike.
“She has had a lot of improvements to her hands with the medicine and they have started to look at more precision medicine for these types of conditions. They have her on the right biologic medication that removes the inflammation in her joints,” Dean said.
Dean said their family is grateful for any fundraising support that Children’s Hospitals receive.
“We are tremendously thankful for fundraising activities like those at the Dairy Queen through the Children’s Miracle Network,” he said. “She (Kayla) is doing really good and she likes to have fun.
“She likes to help other kids by raising awareness of these hospitals in our community. They need funding and they make a tremendously positive impact on our communities.”
Drew Hamill, general manager of of the four Dairy Queen Red Deer locations, said that supporting kids like Kayla is what it is all about and Miracle Treat Day is a celebration for the community.
“This is a big thank you to the people of Red Deer,” Hamill said. “We have been in business for 50 years now and I have always been told that if you take care of the community, they will take care of you back. It is something that my grandfather instilled in my father and my father passed down to me.”
He added that Miracle Treat Day will raise over $100,000 in just one day, which is equivalent to about five to six thousand blizzards.