Hettinger resident among those to have ‘awesome’ experience through Make-A-WishCollin Blade of Hettinger said he really wishes he could go to this year’s benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation Saturday, but on that same day he will be in Bismarck taking EMT tests which could make him a better police officer — what he’s always wanted to be and was made possible through the foundation.
By: By Jennifer McBride, The Dickinson Press
Collin Blade of Hettinger said he really wishes he could go to this year’s benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation Saturday, but on that same day he will be in Bismarck taking EMT tests which could make him a better police officer — what he’s always wanted to be and was made possible through the foundation.
Blade was age 16 when, thanks to the foundation, he became an honorary Dickinson Police Department officer. After his day in uniform, police also escorted him to the airport to be flown off with his family to Disney World.
The now 18-year-old said Thursday that though he still goes to Fargo every four weeks for IV injections for a blood disorder, his health is improving and he plans to attend Lake Region Police Academy in Devils Lake this year.
“It’s always been and I’ve always wanted to,” he said about his desire to be an officer, adding, “I’ve gotten better, and good enough to where I think I can do it.”
If he passes the EMT practical test Saturday, he will take a national test and he expects to be an EMT by the end of March.
“It’s just a skill set I think people should have, knowing how to save lives and it will help in law enforcement,” Blade said.
The 2011 high school graduate is employed by Runnings Farm and Fleet in Hettinger. He works in customer service and sporting goods and ammunition is his specialty department.
Besides studying to be an EMT, working and prepping for the academy, Blade said he was fortunate to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime muzzleloader hunt with the North Dakota Outdoor Adventure Foundation.
He came out more than all right — bagging a
mule and a whitetail deer.
Blade has eosinophilia immunodeficiency, which causes increased allergic reactions.
“My eosinophils count is way too high, or it was,” he said. “It fights diseases it shouldn’t, it’s over-protecting the body and makes you sick.”
Blade says his day in uniform was awesome. “I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “It’s kind of cool that they would do something like that.”
He “highly recommends” others help the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“It’s just a special thing they do,” he said.
A silent auction, food, music and dancing are all a part of Saturday’s Make-A-Wish benefit at the Eagles Club in Dickinson.
Make-A-Wish gives children with life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to do — or in cases like Hettinger’s Collin Blade — to be, something they may not otherwise have the chance to.
That is why Saturday’s benefit is family-based and children are welcome and encouraged to attend, said Kelly Braun, who is the Dickinson Noon Lions president which sponsors the event, and he is also a member of the Make-A-Wish North Dakota Board.
Through local fundraising and benefits he’s seen three southwestern North Dakota children’s wishes granted in the last five years, with more than $60,000 earmarked for the region, he said.
“Through Make-A-Wish they are given a chance to have a little joy and happiness in a time when there is a lot of darkness and it allows those children to be kids once again,” Braun said.
Since Make-A-Wish North Dakota started in 1985, it has granted more than 600 wishes, said Dana Altendorf, Make-A-Wish North Dakota director of community relations.
“We’ve never had to turn a child away because of financial reasons,” she said.
North Dakota Make-A-Wish grants between 33 and 35 wishes a year. Altendorf said organizers would like to grant up to 40.
A trip to Disney World is the top request, but wishes include everything from meet celebrity Orlando Bloom to meeting celebrity puppies from the “Air Buddies.”
“Kind of whatever they dream up we try to make it happen,” she said.
Braun said besides seeing children’s families relieved of some stress, he has “gained friendships I wouldn’t have found in any other ways.”
“Families allow themselves into your life in a very stressful time, and you feel very connected,” he said.
The benefit is Saturday, starting at 4:30 pm. at the Eagles Club in Dickinson.