CES Team Members Volunteer for Make-A-Wish Event in Orlando

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Last July, City Electric Supply (CES) Regional Manager Joe Spiteri and District Manager Pawel Szczechura traveled to Orlando, Florida, all the way from Canada to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Make-A-Wish® Canada.

Spiteri and Szczechura, along with around 20 other volunteers, were invited to the anniversary event due to their significant contributions to Make-A-Wish® Canada.

“I got involved with Make-A-Wish® Canada nearly 10 years ago, but I’ve done volunteer work since I was 12 years old,” said Szczechura. “Every year I participate in extreme marathons to help raise money.”

“For nearly a decade, CES team members have pooled donations together through branch events like golf tournaments, bake sales, and everything in between,” added Spiteri. 

Wish kids fly in for surprise trip

But the celebration event wasn’t just about honoring a milestone for Make-A-Wish® Canada or the volunteers who give back to their local communities.

Wish kids and their families from across Canada were also invited to Orlando for their wish trip.

“Some of these families were flying in from British Columbia and they were coming not knowing what to expect,” said Spiteri.

After arriving in Orlando, Spiteri, Szczechura, and the other volunteers woke up at around six o’clock the next morning to go to the airport to greet the wish kids and their families. 

“They were flying in on a chartered plane provided by a major Canadian airline,” Szczechura added. 

“As soon as they entered the airport, we started cheering for them while holding signs and everything. Some of the kids looked like they had just woken up from their naps, but we just wanted to welcome them with some positivity,” Spiteri said with a laugh. 

Soon after, the volunteers helped everyone get settled in, got everyone breakfast, and escorted them to the parking area outside for their next destination.

Theme park adventure

“We all went to a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Florida, that provides week-long stays for kids with critical illnesses and their families,” added Spiteri. 

“As we toured the resort, we saw roller coaster rides where the kids don’t have to be transferred out of their wheelchairs. They even have a pool made where they can go swimming,” said Szczechura. 

“We helped operate the games and rides for the kids,” said Szczechura. “That evening, we had a welcome dinner party for the Canadian wish families where we served pizza and pasta, cleaned up after everyone, and just made sure the families were having the best time possible.”

Shopping spree

The next day, the volunteers got together with Make-A-Wish® Canada representatives, and CES was given a profile of a wish kid to shop for.

“They gave us a $50 limit and took us to the store to buy them some toys,” said Spiteri.

Believe it or not, it’s not easy shopping for a kid.

“We tried to get them the best toys that matched what they liked on their profile,” explained Spiteri. “We’re not kids anymore, so we don’t know what’s cool now. It was difficult but fun.”

“The main idea was that it was the thought that counts,” added Szczechura. 

Let’s go bowling!

Afterward, the group took the children and their families to a bowling alley.

“Make-A-Wish® Canada rented out the facility, and we were paired up with a family,” added Spiteri. “The young boy was with his two siblings, and all they wanted to do was play!”

Spiteri and Szczechura even joined in on the fun.

“They loved bowling with Joe,” said Szczechura. “They forgot about their parents. They forgot about everything, and Joe was their big brother and best friend.”

“When the kids finished bowling, the boy started running all around the place with Pawel,” said Spiteri. “All the kid wanted to do was enjoy his day without a care in the world.”

Major impact and getting involved

Providing the opportunity for kids to forget about what they were going through for a few days made a big impact on the volunteers, especially Szczechura.

“I spent a long time in the hospital myself when I was younger. I had a very bad case of hepatitis and spent several weeks in the hospital and several months at home. The treatment was intense because the doctors were afraid that my liver would shut down,” said Szczechura.

“I eventually made it through. Getting involved with Make-A-Wish® Canada and seeing those kids, I remember how much it sucked not being able to play outside with my friends and just be a kid. Being able to help these kids forget what they’re going through for a little while was indescribable for me,” said Szczechura.

And the advice Spiteri and Szczechura have for those who want to get involved?

“Just get in touch with local reps from Make-A-Wish® Canada, find out what events or programs are happening around you, and donate. Every little bit counts,” said Szczechura.

“Contribute what you can because there’s always an event going on that they need volunteers for. But really, just hanging out with these kids really means a lot to them,” said Spiteri.

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