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AnnMarie Brink - US Bank

home : news : news July 24, 2017

6/29/2017 3:50:00 PM
Ohio church group and Make A Wish in Lent

You may have noticed a jet black coach bus passing through North Branch multiple times last week. It was carrying a group of church youth, traveling to and from a Make A Wish project site.  They trekked from their host church in the Twin Cities,  to Sam Levasseur’s house in Lent Township, nearly every day.  Sam is wheelchair bound and has sensitivity to insects, sun, etc.  He sustained brain damage during birth 13 years ago and Sam is the reason the busload of church youth traveled from their home base in Ohio,  just to do a good thing here.

The Make A Wish organization arranged for the Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights mission group to build a gazebo in the backyard of Laura and Bob Lavasseur, so their son could be outdoors.  Sam can now watch his younger brother and others at play in the yard, he might sleep on a small sofa in the structure and feel the breeze and hear the birds. 

Grandmother Pat, of Stacy,  was instrumental in registering Sam’s ‘wish’ for a gazebo.  Unfortunately, rhe original structure chosen was detained at US Customs, but the project went ahead anyway with an alternate shed kit bought locally.

The family will use Make A Wish funds later to construct a concrete pathway from the house to the structure.

Laura explained that it got harder and harder to include Sam in outdoor activities because he reacts to insect bites and gets sunburn more intensely than most people.  Last winter,  Sam’s physical condition was touch-and-go as he endured  two incidents of cardiac arrest and the Make A Wish request looked uncertain.  

On site last week,  Angela, the Make A Wish field representative, said the best method for contacting and submitting a wish application is to go to the website to file a request.  This request was submitted two years ago so don’t expect immediate action for your situation.

The non-profit also needs volunteers for making wishes happen;  so if you lead a potential work group or want to get involved individually please also see the website.

The Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights regularly travels around the U.S. for summer youth mission projects, explained leader Robb Forward.  

They have teamed up before with Habitat for Humanity;  but this was their first with Make A Wish Foundation, and their mission to Minnesota.   They enjoyed helping Sam and overall were having a good trip.
A light rainfall on a couple of workdays last week slowed things somewhat-- but  the mission group members said the weather was a lot like in Ohio.

Forward said the mission team consists of high school-aged kids and elder chaperones.  A couple veteran volunteers who first served as work crew are now advising.
Plymouth Church had a second crew assigned through Make A Wish,  miles west of Lent Twsp. in Cambridge.  The ‘wish’ there was for a kid-sized playhouse.  This would be a “surprise” and was erected in one day, said Forward.


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AnnMarie Brink - US Bank

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