Orangeville DQ breaks $60,000 at Miracle Treat Day

August 18, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Everything is pointing towards yet another record breaking year for Dairy Queen in Orangeville with the local store announcing it expects to break the $60,000 mark in what was its 15th annual Miracle Treat Day.

Known in these parts as ‘Dairy Queen Christmas’ the big day came around last Thursday (Aug. 10) and the community did not disappoint. More than 6,600 Blizzards were sold on the day to help raise funds for The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The early estimated total of $60,000 raised would take Mr. Lockyer’s total contributions to the medical centre beyond $500,000 since 2003.

“What an unbelievable day,” Mr. Lockyer told the Citizen. He was at the store from 8 a.m. until midnight helping out behind the scenes and greeting customers in the front. “The mood was absolutely phenomenal, it always is. Everybody was happy the whole time. We got people in and out fantastically, lines were kept to a minimum. Our staff did an amazing job.”

A number of ‘celebrity guests’ made an appearance over the course of the day. Theatre Orangeville’s David Nairn, representatives from Athlete Institute, Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, Orangeville Police Chief Wayne Kalinski, several local paramedics and other business owners stopped by to lend a helping hand and offer encouragement to enthusiastic staff members.

Just as he does every year, Mr. Lockyer is committing every penny raised through the sale of Blizzards, both on the day and through pre-orders, to the cause. “For one day we suck up all the labour and food costs and donate everything we receive,” Mr. Lockyer told the Citizen prior to the event.

The generosity did not stop at the top. The young staff core who help to run the local Dairy Queen on a daily basis also did their part this year, offering up a combined 133.5 hours of free labour to help boost the final fundraising total. Instead of paying those that wanted to volunteer their time, Mr. Lockyer will instead donate the equivalent wages to SickKids.

When the topic of his staff came up during conversation, Mr. Lockyer had nothing but positive words for the 30 plus individuals who helped make Miracle Treat Day a resounding success once again this year.

“I’m just the conductor of the orchestra at this point now. Everyone knows Miracle Treat Day is a massive team effort. It’s made possible because of all the fantastic employees, because of their dedication and because of how hard they work,” Mr. Lockyer said. “It goes without saying, but without such a fantastic staff base, we wouldn’t be able to do Miracle Treat Day the way we do it in Orangeville.”

Mr. Lockyer also paid homage to the dozens of children from SickKids hospital who made an appearance over the course of the day. Referring to them as “miracle children”, John said they served as a constant reminder throughout the day as to why this event is so important.

The Citizen caught up with Sarah Nanacsik of the SickKids Foundation and Alexa Hatzitolios from Children’s Miracle Network, the organization committed to raising funds for 170 children’s hospitals across globe, 14 of them in Canada, on the day to try and gauge exactly what it means to have one Dairy Queen location working so hard to generate much needed funds for the Toronto hospital.

“It’s really difficult to put into words just what this means to SickKids. The truth is that this money will help touch the lives of so many young, innocent children, some of which just haven’t been given a chance at life yet,” said Ms. Nanacsik. “It’s so special for me to be able to be here today and witness firsthand the magic that goes on in Orangeville on Miracle Treat Day.”

Sarah noted all funds raised during Miracle Treat Day goes towards the highest priority patients at the facility and streams into its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), oncology department and supports various different clinics and procedures.

“We’re constantly in need of equipment, it’s a never ending cycle. We’re constantly working and searching for cures for different diseases, we never stop in that regard. There’s a constant need at this hospital and there are always going to be people who need our help. It’s days like today, communities like Orangeville and people like John Lockyer who help us do what we do each and every day,” Ms. Nanacsik added.

According to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) almost 5,000 children enter its affiliated hospitals for treatment every single day. SickKids in Toronto managed 31,424 clinic visits for patients from Peel region in 2016. Those numbers are on the rise too, according to CMN.

Just one week removed from another hugely successful event Mr. Lockyer intimated that there would be no rest for the wicked. While he continues to count up exactly how much money was donated over the course of the day in anticipation of a final fundraising total, he said he’s already got one eye set on Miracle Treat Day in 2018, where he hopes to once again break and set new records.

“Today takes us over the $500,000 mark, which is amazing. The goal now is just not to stop, we’re going to keep going and keep raising more and more money. Hopefully next year we can do even better – that’s been the goal from the start, to push ourselves that little bit further year after year,” Mr. Lockyer said. “The fact of the matter is the need is there, it’s always going to be there. I’m going to make sure we here at Dairy Queen in Orangeville continue to do our part.”

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