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Dreams for kids...and big kids

Five wishes for kids will be fulfilled through the 2007 "Dreams for Kids" campaign.

And one big kid's dream also became a reality, when he received a phone call that he was the owner of a brand new Harley Davidson.

The raffle for the Harley has been a cornerstone of the area "Dreams for Kids" motorcycle run, which took place July 21. A total of 156 bikes and 230 riders participated, with the drawing for the Harley a highlight of the evening.

Geoff Simons was napping at his home in Ogema when the call came Sunday, July 22. A rude awakening it wasn't, as he was informed that he was the winner of the motorcycle.

"I owned a bike for over five years, but I sold it last month to buy a four-wheeler," said Simons, who retrieved the winning motorcycle August 2. It wasn't long before he was back in the saddle again. "Within two weeks--I won this."

For five area kids, each will be granted their wish--be it a trip to Disneyland or Yellowstone. In only its second year, the Dreams for Kids "Make- A-Wish Foundation" drive raised $25,000. Last year, $15,000 was raised--enough for three wishes.

Though the dream recipients haven't been formally announced, Dreams for Kids organizers proudly note that all five will be children living within the greater Perham area. It appears two of the wishes will be from right in New York Mills and Perham.

"I just can't say enough about the support we've received from the community," said Mark Schmidt, who is a founder of Dreams for Kids, and one of a core group of about 20 who work on the project virtually year-round.

Anybody who would like to be a part of the Dreams for Kids crew of volunteers can call Wanda at Playtime, 346-3866; or Mark at 346-3452.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota recognizes that Dreams for Kids is one of the most successful fundraising campaigns by an independent group.

"This has become our largest fundraiser that is organized and put on by an outside group. We truly appreciate the support of this great group of people from Perham," said Tom McKinney, executive director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

It is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 69 chapters across the United States and its territories and 28 international affiliates spanning five continents. Currently celebrating its 25th birthday, the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Minnesota chapter has granted over 2,700 wishes to children across the state.