Harlem youth will go to Disney
October 29, 2013
Havre Daily News/John Paul Schmidt
The Montana Hope Project granted a Harlem boy a wish to go to Walt Disney World with his family Monday.
Richard L. Hader, the president of the Montana Hope Project and a Montana Highway Patrol officer, arrived at Harlem Elementary School to give Seth Ironchild the gift in front of an assembly of his peers at 1 p.m. Monday.
Ironchild, 6, is a Harlem student who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012.
Hader is originally from Harlem and, through Harlem connections on Facebook, found out about Ironchild's affliction.
Hader, at the assembly, announced to Ironchild and his family that the project was sending them to Disneyworld with $1,200-worth of spending money.
"I'm very grateful," said Seth's mother, Valerie Striker. "The community loves Seth so much and Hill and Blaine counties are beautiful communities. They have already done so much."
The Montana Hope Project is a nonprofit organization run by the Montana Highway Patrol. Ironchild's wish was the latest of the 362 wishes the organization has granted thus far, Hader said.
"It's 100 percent volunteer-based and the average wish averages around $6,000," Hader said. "The most popular wish is to go to Disney World."
The funds to pay for these wishes are from donations, Hader added. The donations are tax-deductible and the project does not receive any tax support. The project is also not associated with any national wish-granting association, the website says.
The organization's website says that "ninety percent of all proceeds from fundraisers, corporate and private donors, and memorials go directly to wishes for Montana children."
The Montana Hope Project also hosts two reunions a year for all the families they have given to.
"We keep up with the families as long as they want to be involved," Hader said. "Forty-some families went to the last one."
The summer reunion is held at Essex, near Glacier National Park in June and the winter reunion is held at Fairmont, at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in December.
In addition to the trips the project gives out and the reunions, the organization also often gives away Grizzlies tickets.
"The Montana Hope Project began in 1984 when a handful of Montana Highway Patrol Officers reached out to a couple of kids with life-threatening illnesses, They dug into their own pockets, borrowed a van, and took the kids and their families on a trip to Glacier Park. The Montana Hope Project was born," the organization's website reads.