Wish of a Lifetime: Charity offers life-changing experiences for seniors
Published Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:00PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 8, 2016 11:30PM EST
Wishes are not just for kids.
That is the message from Wish of a Lifetime, a charity that is making the dreams of Canadian seniors come true.
Ninety-two year old Napoleon Montsion from Gatineau, Que., is the very first person in the country to get his wish fulfilled -- flying to Las Vegas to meet superstar singer Celine Dion and watch her show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
“I will put my best suit on to meet her for sure, that will be something! I never thought that one day I will be meeting her in person,” he said from his residence.
The widower and decorated Second World War veteran originally met Dion when she was just 15 years old and ambassador at a Chrysler dealership.
“She was always singing and getting better all the time. We knew she was going to go places because her voice was so good,” he said.
To meet her now after all she has been through, that is impressive… that will be a big thing in my life.”
Wish of a Lifetime is a U.S. charity that has already granted over 1,000 wishes south of the border since launching in 2008.
You can see some of the stories behind those wishes on their YouTube channel. They include a 93-year-old first time sky diver and a senior flying a plane one last time before he loses his vision.
There also are reunions with long-lost loved ones and trips to Normandy for veterans who fought on D-Day, explained Sally Webster, the charity’s director of community outreach.
“Our big goal is really to change the way people view and value seniors … I think a lot of the time we are really hyper focused on youth in our culture and we really want people to take a step back and notice the seniors in their life,” said Webster.
A recent partnership with Chartwell Retirement Residences brought the service to residents in Canada.
Chartwell identified Napoleon as a candidate, as well as 83-year-old Albertan Bob Hird.
He lost his wife Sandy four years ago to cancer, just weeks before their long-anticipated trip to Niagara Falls for their 60th anniversary.
His wish is to make that trip with his daughter in May.
“It gives us something to look forward to. I know for myself, it’s lonely,” he said.
“Whether the wishes are small or large, we believe that the wish has a tremendous positive outcome on a senior’s health, on their purpose and their sense of value,” said Danielle Scheinman, senior manager of communication and public relations for Chartwell.
The charity is urging the public to participate by nominating seniors on their website.
“I really hope it prompts people to continue living life to the fullest and maybe accomplishing other dreams that they did not think are possible,” said Webster.