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Red Deer’s Joe Hittel continuing to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Chillabong’s Bar and Grill had items listed on its menu to help Joe Hittel raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada – Hittel collected a $2,500 cheque from Chillabong’s last month. (Contributed photo)

Joe Hittel is making a push to collect more donations for Make-A-Wish Canada before the end of the year.

The 88-year-old Red Deerians has been collecting donations for the nonprofit organization for the past six years. To date, he has helped raise more than $200,000, including about $35,000 during this year’s campaign.

Throughout this year’s fundraising campaign, Hittel is collecting donations until Christmas. His goal this year is to raise $50,000. Each wish granted by Make-A-Wish Canada for children with critical illnesses costs about $10,000.

“It’s such a joy to see what I can accomplish for those kids. They’re so happy when they get their wishes granted – it’s like they forget everything else,” Hittel said on Thursday.

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He first started collecting donations as part of the Rope for Hope event, where people would raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and rappel down the side of the Stantec Building in downtown Red Deer – Hittel would participate in the event wearing a leprechaun costume, leading to him gaining the nickname “Leprechaun Joe.”

“I’ve had some people ask me why I started doing this and I have to say I don’t know,” Hittel said.

“Back in 2018, I was sitting at home. All of a sudden this popped into my ear as something I wanted to do. I don’t know where that came from, except for maybe my wife in heaven.”

The Rope for Hope event was discontinued, but Hittel had continued to raise funds.

Hittel recently collected a $2,500 cheque from Chillabong’s Bar and Grill, where a select number of food and drink items were added to the menu, with a portion those sales going towards his campaign. A silent auction was also hosted at Chillabong’s, which raised about $6,000.

“This year’s campaign has been going well. Everything has been busy up until the auction – the auction itself is a lot of work,” Hittel said, adding he’s grateful for people and businesses, like Chillabong’s, for showing support to him each year.

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

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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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