Joe Hittel, 83-years-old, is getting ready to rappel down the Stantec building as part of Make A Wish Rope for Hope.
The event, in its second year in Red Deer, is an event that runs across Canada with fundraising going to grant wishes for kids in Red Deer and north.
“We create life changing wishes for kids that are living with critical illnesses,” said Leane Gullekson, communications and marketing officer for Make A Wish Northern Alberta.
The average cost of a wish is $10,000 and Hittel has already been able to raise that plus some, making him the top fundraiser in Northern Alberta.
This will be Hittel’s first time rappelling down a building and the idea came to him out of the blue.
It was a few weeks ago, however, where that extra push really got him going was at Phil’s Restaurant. He saw a family, including a young boy in a wheelchair. He then decided to approach the young boy’s father and found out he was granted a wish to go to Disneyland in 2007.
“I just about got tears in my eyes.” said Hittel, recalling the moment.
Family is very important to Hittel. He has eight kids, 14 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, making it an important event to take part in.
“Everybody’s alright now, but you never know what will happen.”
So far Hittel has raised just over $12,000, doing the fundraising on his own, going around to different businesses.
And not only does he stand out as the top fundraiser, he will be standing out by wearing his leprechaun costume to garner some more attention.
With a variety of wishes granted over the years to kids, the most popular one is the famous trip to Disney World.
“We’ve had some really great wishes. We had a kid last year who wanted to be a race car driver, we have kids who have gone to the Masters and played golf, we’ve had kids who have had shopping sprees, kids who have gone on trips to Europe, kids who have gone to sporting events. We had a little girl who met Katy Perry earlier this year,” said Gullekson.
Red Deer’s Rope for Hope takes part July 21st at the Stantec Executive Plaza and the minimum fundraising goal for participants is $1,500.
Gullekson said they are hoping to have 30 people rappell down the building.
Last year’s event raised $63,000.