Sask. children's Make-A-Wish dreams put on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic

Two hundred twenty-seven children in Saskatchewan have had their Make-A-Wish Foundation request delayed, suspended or scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martensville girl Rachel Glines received her wish on Friday – but it wasn’t her first choice.

"I was supposed to go to Disneyworld. I think maybe the week we were supposed to go, we were all ready, but COVID hit," the eight-year-old said.

Rachel has a rare genetic condition which required her skull to be reconstructed three times while enduring heart and liver issues.

She was forced to re-evaluate her wish and ended up going with a she shed - a similar concept to a man cave but meant for the outdoors.

"I can just hang out and give myself some personal space."

Her mother, Lisa, said the building has improved Rachel’s morale going to appointments, giving her something positive to focus on.

"A lot of times these days, they get run down with the procedures and the test."

On Saturday, nine-year-old Saskatoon boy Noah Agarand, who was born with adrenoleukodystrophy, a genetic condition that damages the membrane that covers nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, received a French bulldog.

Originally he wanted to go to Legoland but reconsidered his plans due to travel and the wait time a trip would be.

Make-A-Wish Saskatchewan regional manager Allyson Toye said travel has been suspended until it's safe.

"The pandemic has cancelled family reunions, cancelled weddings, cancelled concerts, football games. I don't think anything's is as devastating as wishes being put on hold. These wish kids have gone through so much in treatment and their journey and in-hospital stays."

In 2020 the company lost more than $400,000 in Saskatchewan. Nationally, it recorded a $12 million deficit.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation relies on donations, fundraisers and sponsors to help fuel kids' wishes.

Gilnes' has another daughter, Ella, who was also a Make-A-Wish recipient due to a rare genetic condition.

For Ella's wish the family went to Disneyworld in 2018, which Gilnes says her family still talks about all the time.