Red Deer’s Joe Hittel says he had “tears in his eyes” when he received a $10,000 donation for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The 85-year-old will participate in the Rope for Hope fundraiser for the third straight year this September.
The event features people rappelling down the side of the Stantec building in downtown Red Deer to raise money for the foundation.
Hittel, who wears a leprechaun costume while rappelling down the 12-storey building, was approaching businesses looking for donations when he visited Bob Bevins, owner of Bulldog Metals.
After meeting Hittel, Bevins donated $10,000 to his Rope for Hope campaign.
“I was impressed with Joe and his dedication. I thought that I’d like to be able to help him achieve his goal,” said Bevins, adding his business hasn’t been hit as hard as other businesses in central Alberta.
“I kind of live by a standard: where much is given, much is expected. In this case, I had an opportunity presented to me and I know I did the right thing.”
Every wish granted by the foundation costs $10,000 – the same amount Bevins donated.
“I’ve seen stories (from the Make-A-Wish Foundation) and thought they were great stories. I never really thought I’d be in a position someday to actually be able to create one of those stories.
“Now that we are in that position, I think it’s a great opportunity to help, not only a kid, but their family too,” said Bevins.
The largest donation Hittel had received before this one was $2,500.
“I had tears in my eyes, I was shaking and I couldn’t get any words out. I called my granddaughter and she thought I was sick at first. I told her someone donated $10,000 and she says, ‘Shut up,’” Hittel said with a laugh Friday.
Last year, Hittel was the top Rope for Hope fundraiser in Canada, with $33,000. He has already raised more money for this year’s event.
Local musician Dean Ray will host a free concert from his driveway at 20 Askin Cl. in Red Deer at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to help Hittel raise more money. Physical distancing is encouraged at the event – attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair.
To see Hittel’s campaign, visit makeawishca.donordrive.com/participant/JoeHittel.