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Red Deer man kicks off 2024 fundraising campaign for Make-A-Wish Canada

89-year-old Joe Hittel has raised more than $200,000 since 2018
Bulldog Metals owner Bob Bevins (left) donated $10,000 to Joe Hittel's 2024 Make-A-Wish Canada fundraising campaign. (Contributed photo)

Since 2018, Red Deer's Joe Hittel has raised more than $200,000 for Make-A-Wish Canada.

The 89-year-old man will once again be collecting donations this year for the nonprofit organization, which aims to grant the wishes of children who have critical illnesses. It costs about $10,000 to grant a wish.

To kick off his fundraising campaign for 2024, Hittel received a $10,000 donation from Bulldog Metals owner Bob Bevins. This is the fifth consecutive year Bevins has contributed $10,000 to Hittel's campaign.

"Bob is always ready to donate. A $10,000 donation is a great start," Hittel said.

"I'm going to try to raise as much as last year. My ultimate goal is to raise $50,000."

Hittel raised about $35,000 in 2023, which was the 40th anniversary of Make-A-Wish Canada. To celebrate the milestone, Make-A-Wish Canada sent 40 families on their wish to go to Walt Disney World Resort on a single plane. Hittel was invited to join the families on that trip as well.

"It was the trip of a lifetime. I got to talk to the 40 kids and their parents. They couldn't thank me enough for what I'm doing," Hittel recalled.

Hittel first began raising money for Make-A-Wish Canada in 2018 through Rope for Hope – this event featured people rapelling down the side of the Stantec Building in downtown Red Deer. He continued participating in Rope for Hope while dressed as a Leprechaun, which earned him his nickname "Leprechaun Joe," until its discontinuation after the 2021 edition. Despite Rope for Hope no longer happening, Hittel has continued raising funds for the nonprofit organization.

Plans are already in place to hold a silent auction in support of Hittel's campaign at Chillabong's Bar and Grill in Red Deer later this year.

Anyone interested in supporting Hittel’s campaign can do so online at or calling him at 403-872-0329.

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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