DQ’s Miracle Treat Day next Thursday

August 4, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Is there anything better than spending money on ice cream to support a great cause? Well, maybe, but in Orangeville doing just that is definitely a favourite part of the summer for local residents. Miracle Treat Day, dubbed ‘Dairy Queen Christmas’ by the employees of Orangeville’s DQ, makes its return next Thursday.

While the proceeds of every Blizzard sold will go to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals, the full amount of every Blizzard sold at Orangeville’s location will be donated specifically to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), a member hospital of CMN.

If there is any way to indicate just how wildly popular this particular fundraiser is amongst Orangeville residents, one needs to look no further than the award franchise owner John Lockyer received for last year’s event.

“In 2015, Orangeville Dairy Queen was recognized as raising the most money in Eastern Canada, and we were second in all of Canada,” said Mr. Lockyer in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “This year, I’d like to see us be number one in Canada.”

The annual fundraiser started 14 years ago, and Orangeville Dairy Queen has been dedicated to making as big a ‘dent’ in the fundraising as possible. In those 14 years, the local franchise has raised more than $420,000 for Sick Kids’ Hospital.

Mr. Lockyer feels part of the reason it is so popular is because the Orangeville community loves to support good things.

“The community here is just wonderful in terms of supporting good causes,” he said. “The whole premise is just fantastic. It’s helping kids, and it’s helping SickKids, a hospital that affects everyone. It’s summer, it’s ice cream, and it’s a lot of fun.”

As they have done for each event, Orangeville Dairy Queen aims to raise more than last year, setting the goal at $60,000.

Miracle Treat Day’s popularity draws in more than just people itching for an ice cold, flavourful blizzard though; it also brings in a number of volunteers dedicated to helping the restaurant on one of their busiest days of the year.

“All of our employees work Miracle Treat Day, and they love it,” said Mr. Lockyer. “We also usually get a lot of external volunteers like local dignitaries and local celebrities.”

While some of the volunteers haven’t confirmed yet, it has been confirmed that there will be two Miracle Children making an appearance at some point during the day, helping staff to hand out samples and meeting the community.

This year, one of those children is Hartley Bernier, a seven-year-old boy with Hirchsprung’s disease. This disease causes motility issues in his bowels, and the young boy has already been through 10 surgeries and weekly visits to SickKids.

Because of his battle, Hartley calls himself the Wolverine, after the superhero who aims to save the world despite the many operations and surgeries he has undergone.

While Hirchsprung’s can be genetic, there is no known hereditary connection for Hartley’s condition. He spent his first 100 days in the hospital, undergoing reconstructive surgeries before he could go home. Following an operation on his stoma to open his abdomen and empty waste, Hartley left the hospital with a stoma called jejunostomy and a permanent IV, which he has had since he was three.

His parents, Ashley and Daniel, learned how to be their son’s nurses, using Total Parenteral Nutrition to feed him for two years, and giving him daily injections to this his blood. While he has come a long way, he still visits the hospital once a week, meeting with his entire Sick Kids healthcare team monthly.

Ashley and Daniel said in a press release from SickKids that they attribute their son’s life to both his doctor and the GIFT (Group for the Improvement of Intestinal Function and Treatment) program at the hospital. GIFT is currently the only formal intestinal rehabilitation program in Canada.

“When he was diagnosed with Hirchsprung’s disease at one day old, they gave us literature to learn more,” said Ashley. “We were informed that if he was born only five years earlier, there would [have been] nothing they could do.”

The reason the Bernier family decided to share their SickKids story is to raise awareness about the GIFT program, as well as help other superheroes like Harley.

“Because of SickKids research and excelled clinical care, Hartley can live a happy life as the super Wolverine,” concluded the press release from the hospital.

The impact of Children’s Miracle Network hospitals is large, with 14 of their member hospitals in Canada alone. According to statistics released by the network, every minute, 62 children enter a CNM member hospital for treatment in Canada, and in 2015 SickKids managed 29,634 clinic visits from patients in Peel Region.

The power of Orangeville’s support for Miracle Treat Day can be seen through the craze of the day. Throughout the day, it’s no surprise to see lines out into the parking lot, as well as through drive-thru, as members of the community make sure to at least make an appearance and show their support.

Despite the daunting lines, however, Mr. Lockyer said the day runs incredibly smoothly.

“Last year, we timed the wait from those lined up in the parking lot to when they were served, and it was only 11 minutes,” he said. “This whole day is about a team – it’s not me. Our staff are wonderful, and everyone embraces Miracle Treat Day. It’s incredible to be able to raise as much as we do in a community with only 30,000 people. We couldn’t do it without the community, our staff, and the volunteers. It’s just awesome.”

Miracle Treat Day will be held next Thursday, August 11 during regular store hours. This year, Children’s Miracle Network reminds members of the community that if they’re heading to Social Media to share and dish about this awesome event, to include the #MiracleTreatDay hashtag and tag them on Twitter at @SickKids, @DQCanada and @CMNCanada. You can also tweet about our local store by tagging @OrangevilleDQ.

For more information or to find out other ways to donate, visit

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