DQ’s Miracle Treat Day raises $55,000 for Sick Kids Hospital

August 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

‘Dairy Queen Christmas’ struck gold in Orangeville once again last week, with the community coming together to raise more than $55,000 on Miracle Treat Day in support of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

The annual affair has long held a special place in the heart of John Lockyer, franchisee at Orangeville’s DQ. He is one of only a handful of DQ representatives across the country who donates the full cost of a Blizzard to charity on the big day – with the majority of locations donating $1 from every purchase. The result is, in the 17 years since the event’s launch back in 2003, Orangeville DQ has now donated more than $600,000 to Children’s Miracle Network, the overarching body that distributes the funds to children’s hospitals across the country.

“Miracle Treat Day is the best day of the year for us. It’s all about the community coming out supporting us, which then allows us to support such a fantastic cause in SickKids hospital,” Mr. Lockyer told the Citizen. 

A total of 5,789 Blizzards were sold on the day, with 2,680 of those pre-ordered by various local businesses prior to Miracle Treat Day. With money still pouring in from the community, Mr. Lockyer said he hoped to get close to his goal of $65,000 raised through this year’s spectacle.

Reflecting on the day, which saw dozens of employees band together to donate more than 100 hours of labour to the cause and various ‘celebrity’ volunteers come out to offer a helping hand, Mr. Lockyer stated the atmosphere inside the building had a special feeling to it this year. That may be down to the increased presence of Miracle Kids, with 11 special individuals in attendance over the course of the event.

Daniel Bernier, dad of 10-year-old Hartley and 8-year-old Hudson, watched on as his little soldiers helped deliver Blizzards and other food orders to customers throughout the day. He shared his story when asked what Miracle Treat Day means to him and his family.

“My eldest son Hartley has intestinal failure, so since he was a day old he’s been a patient at the hospital. He’s had more than 20 operations and he spends 18 hours of every day on IV. SickKids has been a huge part of his life,” Mr. Bernier told the Citizen. “A few years ago, he started something called the Ambassador Program (at the hospital) so that kids can give back and help out. The first job he had was on Miracle Treat Day. That was five years ago and we’ve made a point of coming out every single year since.”

He added, “The day itself holds a special place in our heart for sure. The folks here in Orangeville do such an incredible job fundraising – we love coming here and helping out”

For Dufferin residents Lisa and Andrew Laidlaw, Miracle Treat Day allows them, as well as their 11-year-old daughter Anjali, to give back to the place that gave the family a second chance at life.

“When Anjali was born, she had AVSD (atrioventricular septal defect), a heart condition where she was born with two chambers in her heart instead of four. Doctors had to go in and create those other chambers,” Ms. Laidlaw said. “She had open heart surgery when she was four and a half months old, and we’ve been seen by SickKids ever since.”

Both of Gillian Hamby’s daughters have benefitted from the world-class service at SickKids hospital over the years. Ten-year-old Sarah is a three-time leukemia survivor, while 12-year-old Kiarra underwent surgery to have a cataract removed from her eye a decade ago. With Sarah celebrating 15 months in remission, the trio were on hand at Orangeville DQ last Thursday to help “pay it forward”.

“It’s really great to see the community come together in such an incredible way to show their support for this event. I remember walking down the hall at SickKids and seeing the sign for Miracle Treat Day, highlighting the Orangeville DQ as one of the event’s biggest supporters,” Ms. Hamby said. “It was great seeing that sign and realizing how much days like today help the hospital do everything they do.”

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, Orangeville Police Chief Wayne Kalinski, members of Orangeville Council and representatives from dozens of local businesses were in attendance at various times throughout the day.

When asked why he continues to support Miracle Treat Day in such a big way each and every year, Mr. Lockyer said he almost feels obligated to help a cause that touches so many in our community. 

“SickKids is an organization that impacts so many people, so many families in our region. Because our government doesn’t fund equipment at hospitals across the province – they only fund operating costs – these facilities really rely on money from other sources to keep up the great work they’ve been doing for years and years and years,” Mr. Lockyer said. “And, come on, anyone who walks through those doors on Miracle Treat Day – who wouldn’t want to be a part of this. There are always smiles on people’s faces, the public are always so very generous. It’s an incredible day.”

He concluded, “And then, to top it off, you have the Miracle Kids, and their families in attendance. They’re always so grateful to be there, seeing folks buying Blizzards for the cause. If you sit down and spend a few minutes with those families and allow them to tell their story – it’s incredible. It’s moving. It’s inspiring. One lady told me if her child had been born 10 years ago, research hadn’t been funded by that point, and so her son wouldn’t be alive. It’s stories like that that make me want to keep on doing this. It makes you wonder what might be possible 10 years from now.”


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