Left-right: City Councillor Chris Theissen, 3D Children's Society Chair Darren Foley, WRCS teacher Lorne Kimble, Donna Wagner (Ryan's mother), County Councillor Daryl Beeston, and Wagner family members Evan (Ryan's brother) and Dean (Ryan's father).
Grande Prairie, October 16, 2019 – Earlier today, students and staff at Whispering Ridge Community School (WRCS) were honoured during a special ceremony for the inaugural Ryan Wagner Memorial Award banner presentation, recognizing them as the top fundraising school for this year's 3D Charity Hockey and Soccer Tournament, held in February in support of seriously ill children. WRCS students raised $5,186.
The 3D Charity Tournament started in 1999 as a fundraiser to help one high school student with medical needs. Since then, the tournament has grown to include hockey teams made up of Grades 4-12 students and Grades 4-6 soccer teams from the three local school divisions, raising a million dollars to assist more than 400 seriously ill students to date.
Ryan Wagner, the namesake of the new top fundraising school award, was among those students as he dealt with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) until his passing in 2016 at the age of 19.
Ryan's mom, Donna Wagner, likely echoed thoughts from all 3D Charity recipients when she asked, "How can we describe the difference the 3D Charity has made in our lives?"
"The 3D Charity helped us live a more typical family life and make memories," added Ms. Wagner. "Thank you for raising the most money and receiving the first award. You did a good job, students!"
The event, hosted by the 3D Charity Board and Executive, also included greetings from County Councillor Daryl Beeston, City Councillor Chris Theissen, 3D Children's Society Chair Darren Foley and Board member Matt Chomyc, and WRCS Principal Shawn O'Shea.
Lorne Kimble, a teacher at WRCS who was involved in fundraising and organizing teams for the event, shared a thoughtful message during the ceremony, summarized in the excerpt below.
"Sometimes adults worry about our kids. They wonder who will be the leaders in our country and our province. They are concerned about whether kids are really learning what they need to know in our schools. I'm not worried though. Every spring I go to the Community Knowledge Campus and see what happens at the Tri-District (3D Charity) Tournament.
"I see hundreds of kids like you guys not only participating in sport but also demonstrating genuine respect and empathy for others no matter their economic background, religion, race, or physical abilities or challenges.
"I've seen what happens when Mr. Foley and some of the amazing sponsors of this program…give kids like Ryan donations, but more importantly (the) message that they are supported and valued. A message of unity and community. When I see this kind of citizenship in young people, I know it's going to be alright.
"So thank you to the organizers and sponsors of the tournament, and thank you to the Wagner family. This recognition will be proudly displayed in our school. It's a sign of the caring community we are a part of."
Whispering Ridge Community School teacher Lorne Kimble brings greetings at the Ryan Wagner Memorial Inaugural Award Presentation on October 16, 2019.