PLEASE DON'T TAKE YOUR ORGANS TO HEAVEN, HEAVEN KNOWS WE NEED THEM HERE ON EARTH



4th CAMPAIGN
KRISTOPHERS WISH

January 8, 2004 – December 19, 2004




2002-2003 - HOW I MET KRISTOPHER KNOWLES

During my walk across Canada, I entered the city of Sarnia on July 23 2000; it was Day 34 of our campaign. We had a very wonderful event, great reception in a very beautiful community. Among the many people we met, there was a young boy that caught my heart. Kristopher Knowles introduced himself to me, and explained that he was on the waiting list for a liver transplant; he was 10 years old at the time. After our visit in Sarnia, we continued to make stops in nearly 500 communities. I met thousands of people along the way that have left valuable memories for me. Some of these people have had transplants and happy stories have followed, some had been waiting for transplants and have passed away. It sometimes left me emotionally drained that these people could not receive the precious organs that would save their lives. As I was completing my trek across Canada I was making my way back to my final stop in Toronto. On Day 749, July 8, 2002 we once again stopped in Sarnia. To my delight, I once again met Kristopher Knowles. He had a great big smile on his face and was anxious to carry the Torch of Life across Sarnia.

There was every indication to think that Kris had received his liver transplant with his bright mood. Unfortunately he didn’t. Sometimes I can’t figure out why some people have to suffer so much in life with afflictions not of their own making. When I think of Kristopher there is two things I feel INSPIRATION and COURAGE. During our stop in Sarnia I stayed at the Knowles family residence and got to know a very loving family. After I completed the walk, Kris and his family and myself participated in many more events. I stayed in contact with Kris by e-mail. Kris was sending me letters, sharing his thoughts of his wish, which was to walk across Canada. He wanted me to be his road manager and walk for Step by Step. I was completely overwhelmed by his desire and enthusiasm to attempt a grueling task. I was so touched by this amazing young boy and at the same time torn whether I could handle such a responsibility. His family was aware of his dream and 100% behind the idea. Many scenarios were rushing through my head. My biggest concern was his safety. After much soul searching my answer came to me after hearing that he won 1,500 hundred-meter races at his school. I agreed. I am presently building a road team that includes a registered nurse, a teacher to tutor him and personnel to handle vehicles and other tasks. I am also organizing the campaign to make sure that all police forces, hospitals, and airports are aware of Kris’s presence each hour and in every community as we move every day. Kristopher’s Wish is to help save all the people on the waiting list. It is the next step to give people more hope. I have been working relentlessly along with some treasured volunteers to make sure that Kris has the best care and that not only Canadians but the whole world hears about this. We will carry out the Campaign, throughout each community, starting in his hometown in Sarnia, January 8, 2004 and ending in Toronto on December 25, 2004. Kris will not let the disease win.

2003 Dec., Toronto Canada - Step By Step arranged a pre kickoff for Kristopher’s Wish at Queen’s Park. During this time we had the opportunity to meet Premier McGuinty and his Health Minister George Smitherman. We provided these dignitaries with our report and our plans. We also aligned ourselves in an official partnership with the Trillium Gift of Life Network. This agency was formed shortly after Premier Harris’s advisory board on organ and tissue donations, which was inspired by Step By Step in 1999. Members of the Ontario Liberals spoke up many times that Step By Step was severely neglected and needed to be heard. During these ceremonies at Queen’s Park, Step By Step had their hopes high that this issue would finally get the attention it deserved.

Jan 8 2004 Sarnia, Canada - On the front steps of Sarnia City Hall, I passed the Torch of Life to Kristopher Knowles and he took the first steps in Mayor Bradley’s presence. There was 200 cities organized across Canada and hundred’s of schools joined in to give Kris a real welcome. In each community we stopped in, there was literally thousands of students cheering Kris and they shared their admiration for this courageous kid. Government officials and dignitaries showed up to show their support. The media covered Kristopher’s Wish with very inspirational stories and soon Kris became a National Icon. Kris would receive thousands of emails from students, some of them willing to donate their liver to him. We continued to set up events, similar to the Canada Walk. This included sporting events, festivals, celebrities, malls and even in a CTV helicopter ride in Toronto. He pitched a ball at a Blue Jay game and dropped the puck at hockey games.  Kris had an emotional appeal to the public. We continue to conduct discussions, debates and consultations across Canada. We added more information to the massive amount of data that we accumulated in the past campaigns.

Apr 23 2004 Brandon Canada - We had the honor and pleasure of meeting Rock and Roll legend, Bobby Curtola. Bobby and his manager Robert Hubbard helped and supported us in many ways. On July 1 2004, Bobby sang ’You are beautiful” to Kris. It was a moment in history.

Dec. 19 2004, Iqaluit Nunavet - The good news was that Kristopher reached his final step on December 17 2004 in downtown Toronto, to a thunderous ovation from a large gathering of students. We received a call from the Premier of Nunavet. He asked us if we could send Kris to Nunavet where he could claim his final step. We agreed whole heartly. The sad news was that Kris still had not received his liver transplant and the rate of donations slightly increased. Canada needed some vital changes. We were continuing to be relentless in our efforts to persuade both Federal and Provincial Governments to adapt sound changes in our organ policies. They were hesitant in accepting our recommendations and  we faced an uphill battle even with the Ontario Liberals who embraced at the start. After 4 Campaigns, Step By Step became a leader for this issue and we reached literally millions of Canadians. However there was more work to do in changing our society to adapt these new ways. Next campaign was the European Tour.



KRISTOPHER'S WISH SUPPORTERS

The Knowles Family, Frank Furman, , Wayne MaCiaasic, Winston Bromley, Jozef Milczarski, Glenda Opshal, Angelo Mosca, Joe Mollica, Mel Davis, Information Gateway Services, CHIN, Rivernet, Rogers, Geoplast, B.W. Imaging, City Press, Ontario Provincial Police, Deborah Charette, David Wrightsmith, Johnston Memorial PS, SCITS, Schools, School Boards, Quebec Clarica, John Melnick, Leslie Smith, Trillium Gift of Life Network, JDS Inc., Fernando Lombardi, Frank Lista

THE ROAD TEAM

George Marcello, Kelly Knowles, Billy Adie, Merle Roberts

ADMINISTRATION

Elaine Barry

 

 


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