Pair takes to raft for Make-A-Wish

It may not have been Jason Tremblay’s idea to raise money for Make-A-Wish by floating on a Merrimack River raft for 36 hours, but he’s making the effort his own.

On July 26 at 9 a.m., Tremblay, of Merrimack, and Jason Perry from Verizon Wireless Arena, will take to a white water raft, tied to a mooring in the middle of the Merrimack River by Arms Park in Manchester, to raise money to get Make-A-Wish of New Hampshire to its 1,000th wish-granting this year.

Make-A-Wish Foundation, the nation’s largest and most recognized wish-granting organization, strives to provide children ages 21?2 to 18, battling a life-threatening illness with the hope for better times, the strength for the difficult ones, and the joy to experience the present.

Tremblay, director of Corporate Alliances with Make-A-Wish of New Hampshire, has been involved with the organization for more than three years now, but has little experience in river rafting.

“I’ve been white water rafting before a couple of times, I’m not an aficionado by any means,” Tremblay laughed.

But when the Make-A-Wish donor who initiated the rafting idea couldn’t go through with his plan, Tremblay stepped up to the plate.

“I’ve decided to be excited about it – the only piece about it I can control,” Tremblay said. “I’m excited and I get the chance to carry on a friend’s legacy and get a chance to raise money for children.”

Make-A-Wish of New Hampshire has already granted the wishes of about 950 children in the state, Tremblay said. He hopes the rafting will bring in enough money to get the organization over the 1,000 mark.

“We figured probably a 36-hour period, we could raise $36,000,” Tremblay said.

Every wish in New Hampshire costs about $10,000.

“I’m secretly hoping to blow the $36,000 out of the water,” Tremblay said. “We’ve almost reached $2,000. I’ve had many friends and folks call me and say I want to donate, too .?.?. With any luck that number will grow pretty fast, and that will be enough to grant all 50 wishes in the queue for us.”

Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire grants everything from trips to Disney World for a child to meet their favorite superhero or to become a princess, to visits to the Grand Canyon, or a meet-and-greet with country singer Blake Shelton.

“There’s everything, and all of them are incredibly special and unique. And, each and every one is truly that child’s heartfelt wish,” Tremblay said. “We’re hoping with New Hampshire rallying around this crazy idea we can get enough money to help them.”

Although Tremblay said he is still working on what to bring onto the raft to sustain him for 36 hours, he knows he will be wearing a life jacket, under Marine Patrol spotlight throughout the night, and joined by a Make-A-Wish tent of volunteers along the river.

“We figured we probably should have a little port-a-potty (on the raft), maybe some cards, a lunch box and my phone, for as long as the battery lasts,” Tremblay said.

“I’m fine, I can float. We’ll have life jackets on, it’s going to be very safe.”

Thirty-six hours of floating is a small commitment to help the kids who change his life daily, Tremblay said.

“I’m excited I get to be a part of it and honored I get to help serve these children that have offered me a lot of perspective on my life,” Tremblay said. “I learn something from each and everyone of them every day and to give of myself for them is an honor for me.”

To donate to their cause, visit Tremblay and Perry’s donation pages at http://friends.wish.org/058-000/page/Jason-Tremblay/36-Hours—-36-000.htm or http://friends.wish.org/058-000/page/Jason-Perry/36-hours-afloat.htm, or call 623-9474.

Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashuatelegraph.com