Basalt girl will fulfill big wish, thanks to Eagle Valley High school fundraising |

Basalt girl will fulfill big wish, thanks to Eagle Valley High school fundraising

Ali Longwell
Vail Daily
Sadie, 6, from Basalt watches games being played for the Make-A-Wish Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. The game was blind folded musical chairs.

GYPSUM — With chants of “we believe in Sadie’s wish, we believe in Sadie’s wish …” echoing through the Eagle Valley High School gymnasium on a recent Wednesday, students and faculty celebrated another successful Wish Week.

The annual fundraiser supports Make-a-Wish Colorado, with this year’s Wish Week celebrating Sadie F. (last name withheld), a 6-year-old from Basalt who recently battled leukemia.

“Organizations like Make-a-Wish bring so much joy and hope to kids and their families that have been hit hard by traumatic events like cancer. Knowing that Sadie would have a wish granted in the future gave us something so fun and positive to look forward to during her treatments,” said Sadie’s mother, Kristen. “After going through such a difficult time we really wanted to celebrate and pay it forward to other kids to help raise money to bring them happiness through hard times as well.”

Sadie, 6, from Basalt, watches a dance-off competition for the Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. Multiple activities and games were performed for Sadie’s entertainment.

Make-a-Wish is an organization that helps bring hope to kids like Sadie, who are diagnosed with and battling a critical illness, through granting a wish. For Sadie, this wish is to visit Hawaii — which according to Kristen, Sadie calls “paradise” — and swim with the dolphins.

Kristen said that the inspiration for Sadie’s wish came from a Barbie movie called “Dolphin Magic,” which she has loved for several years.

“For her fourth birthday she had a mermaid-themed party, then for her fifth birthday she requested a luau party so she could dance like a hula dancer and we watched hula dancing videos all afternoon,” Kristen said. “When thinking of the most magical wish Sadie was drawn to Hawaii, and when she found out people could actually swim with the dolphins she was the most excited she had ever been.”  

This year, school raised over $31,000 for Make-a-Wish Colorado, with donations expected to continue trickling in over the weeks to come. While these donations will help grant Sadie’s wish, it will also help many other kids in Colorado.

“Make-a-Wish is just such a great foundation; we’ve been working with them for the past six years and every year we’re able to make multiple wishes come true, just through this week alone,” said Audrey Tatro, an Eagle Valley sophomore and the Wish Week co-chair.

Eagle Valley High School kicked off its sixth annual wish week with Sadie in mind on Wednesday, March 8. Over the next seven days, the school hosted events to raise money, including everything from pickleball, volleyball, soccer and dodgeball tournaments to a Sadie Hawkins Dance, trivia and more.

Brush Creek and Red Hill Elementary helped out too, raising $10,879.

“We didn’t realize how much the schools got involved like this until this opportunity presented itself and we were blown away by the students at Eagle Valley High School, Brush Creek Elementary, Red Hill Elementary and their surrounding communities,” Kristen said.

Sadie had been excited about the closing assembly, her mother said, “because she knew it was all about having fun and celebrating after a long rough road beating cancer.”

With students leading the way on the fundraising week, they have the opportunity to give back to their community and see the impact of the generosity.

“A lot of times everyone is doing something different in high school, but this is one thing the whole school comes together over, and it’s just the coolest thing,” Tatro said. “Cancer is just devastating for everyone, especially seeing a child have their childhood taken away by such a terrible illness. (During Wish Week), you see everyone come together and just want to solve these issues and contribute whatever they can to this child that’s in need.”

Zaida Weems, an Eagle Valley senior and the Wish Week assembly committee head, said having and seeing this impact has been her favorite part of participating in the fundraising effort for the past four years.

“I really like the fact that I can give back to my community. I’m a senior this year and for all four years that I’ve been here, we’ve had a local wish kid, so it’s been really cool to see,” Weems said. “We have a whole community, and it’s not just our school, it’s the parents, it’s our feeder schools — it’s cool to see how many people come together.”

This is Eagle Valley High School’s sixth year participating in Make-a-Wish Colorado’s student-led fundraising program, raising over $95,000 in the first five years for the organization. According to a release from Make-a-Wish, this was enough to grant wishes to 13 children across the state.

This year, Tatro said the hope is that the funds raised will be able to grant not only Sadie’s wish but also four or five others.

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