Making kids' dreams come true
Wishing upon the water
The first team of rafters volunteering in the Make-A-Wish New Hampshire 44-hour rafting relay in Meredith Bay board the covered rafts on Wednesday afternoon. (LARISSA MULKERN)
"Rafting for Wishes," in its third year, is a fund-raising event orchestrated by Jason Tremblay, director of philanthropy for Make-A- Wish New Hampshire, and Jason Perry, director of sales and marketing for Manchester's Verizon Wireless Arena.
The number of hours and the fundraising goal increases each year. Last year's event raised $36,000 — $1,000 for each of the 36 hours on the water. This year adds another eight-hour shift.
How do they prepare for spending 44 hours in a raft?
"We bring as little as possible," he said. Items they bring include a towel, sunglasses, bathing suit, cell phones, food and a toilet facility. The weather forecast is pretty good, with a chance of pop-up showers, and participants are allowed to take a swim to cool off if it gets too hot as long as the raft remains occupied.
Sponsors hosted a festive kick-off event Wednesday in Meredith's Hesky Park, which many of the state's "Wish Kids" attended with their families.
"They see their future moving beyond their illness and see a future that is bright," he said. "These are the kids. These are the lives you are changing."
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