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MONTANA HOPE PROJECT Sponsored by the Association of Montana Troopers “The Bears that Care” In Loving Memory of

Alice O’Donnell

JANUARY 2012 Inside this issue: Alice O’Donnell


President’s Message 3 Lost But Not Forgotten: 4 Alice O’Donnell Granted & Pending Wishes Those that Make Things Happen


2011 Wishes


Fundraising Efforts






Photo Gallery


Follow Us


Hope Gear


Photo by Victoria Wojciechowski, Creative Vision

Honorary Montana Highway Patrolman, Badge 99


Alice said, "Remember that I had a wonderful life and I accomplished a lot, so do not feel bad for me."

Alice O’Donnell “A lady that cared.” ANACONDA -Alice Marie O'Donnell died Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.


was born to Alice and Patrick O'Donnell on Sept. 19, 1945. Alice attended Carroll College and was in the first graduating class from St. James Community Hospital School of Radiologic

Alice will be sadly missed

Technology. Following graduation, she worked as a radiation therapy technologist and instructor in the school. Alice was later employed for many years at Montana State Hospital and Community Hospital of Anaconda as a radiologic technologist until a brain tumor caused her to retire. She truly loved her profession and spoke at many conferences. Alice's real joy was watching her niece and nephews grow into adulthood and enjoying her great nephews. She was proud to have served as the District 3 (Butte/Anaconda area) Coordinator for the Montana Hope Project. On Jan. 12, 2011, Alice was granted the honor and the privilege of being an honorary Montana Highway Patrolman, Badge 99. The plaque was presented by Col. Mike Tooley and Lt. Col. Butch Huseby of

Alice seated on Santa’s lap at Fairmont Winter Reunion December 2010

the Montana Highway Patrol. Alice was preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her

Photo by Victoria Wojciechowski, Creative Vision

family - brothers, Patrick and his wife, Peggy of Belgrade, and Gene and his wife, Elizabeth of Anaconda; sister, Kathleen and her husband, Mick (whom she called her right hand man) of Anaconda; nephews,

The family requested that

Mike (Tina) of Belgrade, Bob (Melissa) of Phoenix, Patrick (Alisia) of

in lieu of flowers,

Missoula, Jonah of Berry, Ontario; niece, Pamela of Belgrade; great-

memorials could be

nephews, Nick and Nathan O'Donnell and Ethan and Emerson Duganz.

made to the Montana Hope Project

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Thursday, Jan. 20, in St. Pe-

Box 5927

ter's Catholic Church. Rite of committal followed in Mount Olivet Ceme-

Helena, MT 59604

tery. Parish vigil services were conducted Wednesday, Jan. 19, at KT Riddle Funeral Home chapel. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians service was held and the rosary recited by the Legion of Mary.

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President’s Message BY RICHARD HADER

2011 was a busy year for the Project. We finished the year granting wishes and have four families ready to travel the month of January. Seven more families are finishing up their medical treatments and are looking forward to their wish. We saw a lot of changes in personnel with the Project. In January we said goodbye to Alice O’Donnell, our Butte/ Anaconda Coordinator who passed away from her 30 year fight with cancer. Trooper Joe Wyant of Anaconda has taken her place (if anyone can ever take her place). Rhonda Huseby became our new Helena Coordinator when that position was created to fill a need in that area of the state. Trooper Darlene Lee stepped down as Photo by Victoria Wojciechowski, Creative Vision Merchandise Coordinator and our very own Trooper Cal Janes has taken over. (As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate). Tiana Hader stepped down from half of her dual role as the Missoula Area Coordinator and Trooper Sean Finley is now in that role. Tiana will continue as the Wish and Reunion Coordinator. Bozeman Area Coordinator Derek Brown has stepped down and Trooper Glen Barcus is now the new Coordinator. This also was Mark Tome’s first year running the Ride 4 Hope by himself and he did a good job. Next year the ride will end in Havre and we have worked a deal with the Town House Inn. The Project lost a great supporter when Alice passed away. Over the eleven plus years working with her, Alice and I became close friends. She was my biggest cheerleader! She allowed me to shoot for the stars on my ideas but would also keep me grounded when needed. Alice was a main stay at the annual Town Pump golf tournament and was honored this year at the first hole. Thank you Town Pump for remembering my friend! We are still able to provide the critically ill children of Montana their wishes because of the selflessness of so many individuals and businesses who continue to share our passion. Even though the Hope Project was started and is still sponsored by the Association of Montana Troopers, it truly is a Montana organization that is made up of so many wonderful people. To everyone involved, thank you for your faith and belief in the Project, without you, none of this would be possible.

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Lost But Not Forgotten by Kathie R. Miller, Anaconda Leader Editor Anaconda and its children, especially those enduring medical treatment for chronic or terminal illnesses, lost a great friend last week in the death of Alice O’Donnell, 65. O’Donnell was the volunteer Montana Hope Project coordinator for the Butte and Anaconda area for more than 13 years. Despite being disabled and battling cancer, she donated countless hours to ensuring children’s dreams came true through the non-profit organization that grants wishes to sick youngsters. Alice was often the first person with good news to approach area families struggling with serious medical issues to let them know about the Montana Hope Project and what they could do to help their child forget what they are dealing with for a least one day. She was tireless in seeking donations of time, money and services for the program. She never hesitated to give people a call if there was something she needed for a child. Alice often told me she did it for the parents as well as for the children, saying they deserved a break from the medical concerns as much as their youngsters. Just a week before her death, the Montana Highway Patrol made her an honorary patrolman and gave her badge no. 99 for all of her work with the Montana Hope Project. And in her typical modest fashion—she never told the media about her honor. She always said the only “thank-you” she ever needed was in the smiling faces of the children she touched. I want to take a few moments to recognize all of her efforts—she will forever be one of the MHP’s guardian angels.

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Wishes Granted in 2011 Kennar from Helena, Hawaii Brent from Billings, Hawaii Jasmine from Lolo, Disney World Kellan from Livingston, Disney World Dylan from Missoula, Disney World & Florida Zoo Casandra from Billings, Disney World Shoshanna from Great Falls, Disney Land Clint from Big Sandy, Disney World James from Helena, Play Ground Johnathan from Hamiliton, Freedom Concepts Trike Austin from East Helena, Texas Football Game Mikaslyn from Missoula, Freedom Concepts Trike Maria from Lonepine, Hawaii Aspen from Clinton, Disney World Ethan from Missoula, Disney World Mariah from Busby, Disney World Larissa from Missoula, Pro Bowl Jase from Charlo, Disney World

Wishes Pending McLain from Helena, Pending Cameron from East Helena, Pending Miriam from Hamilton, Ride Horses on the Beach Johnathon from Livingston, Disney World Abby from Missoula, Disney World

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Montana Hope Project Officers and Coordinators President: Richard Hader Vice President/Secretary: Cal Janes Treasurer: Deborah Butler Wishes: Tiana Hader Bears: Audrey Collins Ride for Hope: Mark Tome Media Coordinator: Kathy Sangray Chaplain: Chuck Lee Merchandise: Cal Janes Billings/East: Dawn White Bozeman: Glen Barcus Butte/Anaconda: Joe Wyant Great Falls: Tom Taylor Helena: Rhonda Huseby Kalispell: Steve Lavin Missoula: Sean Finley Newsletter Editor/Layout/Design: Kathy Sangray Contributing Authors: Tom Gress, Lacy Schneider, Tammy Buchanan, Alana Listoe(Helena Independent Record), Kathie R. Miller(Anaconda Leader Editor), Richard Hader, Sheila Prior, Zach Benoit(Billings Gazette), Corrina Pysa(KFBB Great Falls), Mark Tome, Tom Taylor Contributing Photographers: Tom Gress, Lacy Schneider, Dylan Brown(Helena Independent Record), Mark Bosch, Dawn White, Eliza Wiley(Helena Independent Record), Victoria Wojciechowski(Creative Vision), Bob Zeller(Billings Gazette Staff), Mark Tome, KECI Staff(Missoula)

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OUR TIRELESS VOLUNTEERS Hike 4 Heroes: Jim & Lacy Schneider, Cyndy Deist and Becky Sturdevant Kruz 4 Kidz: Tom Gress, Bonnie Saxton, and Richard Hader Summer and Winter Hope Project Reunions: Tiana Hader Ride for Hope: Mark Tome Lake Mary Ronan ATV Ride: Royce Bird Billings Hope Project Benefit: Dawn White Great Falls Poker Tournament: Tom Taylor and the Great Falls Exchange Club

HOPE PROJECT FACTS We are NOT affiliated with any national organization. 90 cents of every dollar raised directly benefits Montana children. We have granted 336 wishes to date since 1984. Every year wish recipients and their families are invited to join us for a summer and winter reunion. Wishes are funded entirely by your donations and fundraising. Page 7

JAMES’ WISH James is a little boy,

Courtesy Photo

By Tammy, James’ Mom

(4 in September). As his Mom, I wanted to take a moment to explain why James made a wish for a back yard make-over that he refers to as his park. He wished for his park to have a large sandbox, swings, slides, climbing walls, climbing ladders, a fort and a bridge. After becoming old enough to understand the scope of the wish programs, it is the only thing he has ever asked for. We showed him videos of Atlantis, Hawaii, Disney and Children Theme Cruises but he always said he wanted his park more. As his Mom, I wanted his wish to be perfect in every way. I wanted to wait until he was old enough to make the correct decision since I knew he could only have one wish. It was a hard choice to make because we were afraid that if we waited, his cancer might return and he would never have the chance to get a wish. After several months of him asking for his park, I knew that he was ready to ask for his wish to be granted.

As his Mom, I thought the wish was a very good idea since the chemotherapy left James with nerve damage. Leukemia often hides in the central nervous system and relapse in the brain is common. To prevent the leukemia from attacking the central nervous system, chemo is directly injected into the cerebral spinal fluid several times during treatment. This chemo, while preventing CNS relapse, often causes nerve damage. James is still recovering and his physical therapists suggested that play equipment might help him to become more coordinated. I look upon his park as a chance for him to continue his path of healing, but he just looks upon it as a dream come true.

“I look upon his park as a chance for him to continue his path of healing , but he just looks upon it as a dream come true.”

After thoughtful reflection, I understand why James wished for a playground. The story starts with the onset of his illness. Just a month and a half before James had his second birthday he began to have pain in all his bones, especially his head, hands, feet and legs. He hurt all over and was too little to tell us where he hurt. He hurt so much that he couldn’t sleep at night and he no longer felt like playing. We had to give him Motrin around the clock to keep him from crying in pain. It took 3 and a half months before he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. By that point, his pain was so severe that he could no longer even walk. He was terribly miserable, not just from pain but from being limited by his pain. He had always loved being outside playing. He loved playing on riding toys and playing on playgrounds.

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His cancer took that away from him and he was very sad. During treatment we lived in an apartment that overlooked the playground. There were lots of riding toys such as big wheels, tricycles, and bikes that were parked in a row next to the play equipment. The playground was built for all the kids with cancer that lived in the special apartments near the hospital. It was fabulously colorful and very large. There were 4 slides connected to towers that were joined together by bridges and play tunnels. There were numerous types of climbing assemblies including a climbing wall. It was a wonderful playground.

Courtesy Photo

James would look out our window to the playground below. During the first couple of months he was in too much pain to play on the playground and would just sadly look out the window at the kids playing below. After the chemo began killing the cancer, he felt much less pain. After his second round of chemo, two months into treatment, he was no longer taking any pain medication. His smile returned and he soon felt like playing again. However, the chemo had wiped out his immune system and he couldn’t play where other kids played. He also suffered from not being able to make platelets, blood cells that enable clotting, and couldn’t risk injury by being on play equipment. Thus, he sadly looked at the play equipment below our apartment every day just wanting to once more play like a regular kid. We lived in that apartment 7 and a half months. There was rarely a day when James was able to play like he wanted during that time, yet he looked down at his dream, the life he wanted to live.

Thank you Montana Hope Project for granting my tiny boy his dream. Tammy Courtesy Photo

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A Park of His Own Taken from Alana Listoe’s story from the Helena Independent Record To see the twinkle in the friendly 4-year-old’s eye or the smile across his mother’s face as James made his way up the climbing wall on a play structure in his backyard under a perfectly blue Montana sky Saturday afternoon, you’d never know what they have endured. Wearing a shiny blue superhero cape, James ascended the climbing wall, stopped under the roof to steer his make-believe pirate boat and took a quick trip down the slide, giggling the entire way. Having battled leukemia, James is active, healthy and now has had a wish granted. His “park” became a reality just in time for the holiday weekend. The Buchanan family came to Montana just over a year ago. They moved here because John, James’ father, had a job, something he’d had to forgo in order to be with his family after his son was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia just before he turned 2. The family was living in the southwest corner of Virginia. John, a chemist, had a good job, and so did his wife, Tammy, who was teaching at the local college. It was midsummer when some sort of pain starting bothering the toddler. “We knew something hurt,” Tammy said. He was irritable, grumpy and tired. He rubbed his blanket on his ears and head. He cried, which eventually turned to screams. Pain relievers helped, but before long the only way to make James comfortable was to medicate him around the clock. An ear infection was the culprit, doctors told the worried mom. “That began a wild goose chase,” Tammy said. After three bouts of antibiotics, the pain not only was still bothering the small boy, but it had gotten worse. It took several trips to the hospital, dozens of scans, blood tests and ultrasounds before anyone had a clue what was happening, since his tests were never abnormal enough to pinpoint the problem. It wasn’t until a test was performed by the Mayo Clinic that anyone said it was cancer. Still, the answers didn’t come quickly since James’ little body wasn’t producing enough cancer cells to determine what kind and how to treat it. It took two grueling months before doctors determined it was leukemia. “As a parent, you just become more frightened,” Tammy said. “It’s devastating to hear that your child has cancer.” Preparing for what was to come required the entire family to stay out of the public, which meant that older sister Katherine had to be home-schooled and eventually move in her with grandparents. The family relocated to Memphis, Tenn., where oncologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital would perform six rounds of chemotherapy as

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James was treated for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and a looming 10 to 15 percent chance of survival.

James’ wish was just to be able to play.

During that time, James would often sit on the window ledge that looked over a playground, always wanting to go out, yet rarely feeling well enough to even walk. “It wasn’t expected that he would respond so well to the chemo,” Tammy said. James has been in remission for one year now, and if he can make it another year, his survival odds go up to 80 percent. Tammy feels blessed and says the family takes nothing for granted. But, she’s cautious. “It’s hard to know for sure, but we feel like we are better,” she said. James’ wish for a “park” was recently granted by the Montana Hope Project. The playground equipment and sandbox were installed over the past few days by volunteers. State Trooper Dave Gleich took a vacation day to help out. “I would not have wanted to be anywhere else,” he said. “You spend five minutes with James, and you’ll do anything for him.” For Rhonda Huseby, Montana Hope Project coordinator for this area, it was the first time she’d witnessed a wish being granted. “Seeing that smile after he came down the slide made it absolutely worth it on our part,” she said. The Montana Hope Project was started in 1984 by the Association of Montana Troopers to make dreams come true for critically ill children in Montana. The average granted wish amounts to about $6,000, and the most requested wish is a trip to Walt Disney World. Other wishes include Hawaii, seeing favorite sports teams, and computers. Huseby says the organization also builds relationships with the families it helps by way of two reunions, one near Glacier Park and another at Fairmont Hot Springs.

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By Zach Benoit, Billings Gazette

Last year, Brent thought his mom, Kristy, was mad at him as they drove to Applebee’s one night. He soon learned she wasn’t, but was in for a bigger surprise when a pair of law enforcement officers approached the family’s table. “All of the sudden there were these cops at the table,” Brent said. “When I found out what it was for, I was just shocked.” Brent wasn’t in trouble. The officers were actually there to let him know that the Montana Hope Project would be paying for a round-trip, weeklong vacation to Hawaii. “But we don’t just go, ‘Here’s your wish, see ya,’” said Dawn White, Billings area coordinator. “They become our family, too. All these benefits we provide, we provide to the families, too.” When Brent, now a 16-year-old sophomore at Shepherd High School, was 14, he was working at his family’s sign busiPhoto by Bob Zeller, Billings Gazette Staff ness in the Heights in 2008. “He was a healthy 14-year-old, doing some heavy lifting for us, when his upper left arm started hurting,” Mom, Kristy, said. An ultrasound a few days later revealed that Brent had a deep-vein blood clot. It spread to his lungs and he developed a “For a boy that was staph infection. He ended up spending 51 days at Denver Chilso healthy, then dren’s Hospital. White said a relative of hers recommended that she contact Brent’s family about the Montana Hope Procritically ill ... ject. it really gave him “Often it’s something where somebody sees something in the media and says, ‘Have you heard about this kid?’” she said. something to look “Then we try to find that family. And it’s not only for terminally forward to.” ill kids.” Brent originally wanted a new dirt bike, but because of liability issues, the project gave him his second choice, a family trip to Waikiki last February. “It was just such a nice surprise,” he said. “It was very nice of them to do that.” What really sets the group apart, White said, is that it’s for the entire family and acts as a statewide network to support them. It holds twice-yearly family get-togethers near Glacier National Park and at Fairmont Hot Springs. Most of the wishes granted include parents and siblings. “If it gives them a chance to smile for just a week or whatever, without needles or anything like that, it’s all worth it,” White said. Brent is doing well now, but Kristy said involvement with the Montana Hope Project came at a good time for her son, who was getting frustrated with being sick. “For a boy that was so healthy, then critically ill ... it really gave him something to look forward to,” she said. “I’d just like to say what a wonderful thing it is.” Page 12


By Corrina Pysa, KFBB Great Falls

The Montana Hope Project has helped make one more dream come true for a local family. Today, the Montana Hope Project presented a $3,000 check, camera and stuffed bears to Shoshanna and her family in Great Falls. They’re getting ready to leave for Disney Land next week.( June 2011) In total, 14 family members will be making the trip. 15-year-old Shoshanna suffers from Cerebral Palsy and this vacation is something the entire family is looking forward to. “This is the first time we’ve ever really been on a vacation. We’ve never been anywhere. They were exactly thrilled. I mean, this is a wonderful thing that has made something possible for us that really wouldn’t The kids thought be possible without this help,” shares mother Amanda. they were going

to Missoula for

“You know, with the volume of people that were the weekend. going on the trip, it was the heart of our president to say, “You know what, I think we need to give them some spending money; we need to provide a camera for them; we need to give them some bears and we need to send them off in the right way,” to let them know the Montana Hope Project cares about not only their family but about Shoshanna as well,” Trooper Tom Taylor tells us. The kids thought they were going to Missoula for the weekend. They say besides Disney Land, they’re looking forward to doing lots of sightseeing and even visiting the zoo.

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Austin’s Wish Taken from Alana Listoe’s story from the Helena Independent Record

Photo by Eliza Wiley, Helena Independent Record

Orange has been Austin’s favorite color since he was old enough to walk, so it’s only fitting that his favorite football team is the Texas Longhorns. It’s also the color used in raising awareness of leukemia, like pink is for breast cancer. Austin, 14, recently traveled with his parents — Valerie and Terry — to Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, where he got to watch his team play against Oklahoma, thanks to a gift from the Montana Hope Project. It didn’t matter to Austin that the Longhorns lost 55 to 17 to the Sooners. His loyalty isn’t deterred by the fact that the team finished the season with 7 wins and 5 losses. He’s gearing up to cheer for his team when they face the California Golden Bears in the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 28. Austin’s football experience is one that he says he’ll never forget. Not only did he get to sit in the stadium but he got to meet some of the players. It was the first time visiting the Lone Star State for the young rodeo cowboy. Beyond the football, what he enjoyed most was the food. He’s pretty serious about his food and wants to become a chef. “He is to the Longhorns what I am to the Griz,” said Cal Janes, vice president of the Montana Hope Project, referring to Austin. Janes says while

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granting wishes is touching, he’d rather not have to do it at all. “That would mean nobody is getting ill,” Janes said. The experience provided by the Hope Project gives families a break from their struggles. “It gives them maybe a week or so that they don’t think about finances and things,” Janes said. “It’s nice to see a smile on their face when they are going through so many issues.” Trouble started for Austin in the spring of 2010. What health professionals first thought to be mononucleosis eventually became a diagnosis of leukemia. The family was given the choice to travel out-of-state for treatment or stay in Montana. Austin was part of the decision to stay in his home state for the treatment, which is expected to take about two years. “It all felt safe to stay here,” Mom, Valerie said. “Austin wanted to be with his friends and sleep in his own bed.” Austin is an outgoing young, active teenager, a freshman at Helena High School. He admits school has been difficult because he’s missed so many days getting treatment. The stays in the hospital are difficult, sometimes lonely and always without good food options. “It feels like jail,” he said. The hope is that Austin will be cured. But his family members are aware that the outcome of treatment is uncertain. But the 14-year-old’s attitude is unbeatable. “He is just an inspiration to everyone out here and the whole community of East Helena,” says Kevin Van Nice, his school counselor from last year. Fifteen-year-old Kooper has been friends with Austin since they went to day care together. The pair have the same interests — rodeo, hunting, fishing and the Texas Longhorns. “I don’t get to see him as much as I used to because he’s always in the hospital or at home because he is sick — that’s hard,” he said. Kooper was jealous of Austin’s trip to Texas but is pleased his good friend got to go. “He had a lot of fun,” Kooper said.

Mom (Val), Austin and Dad (Terry) at Texas Memorial Stadium. Courtesy Photo

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Kruz 4 Kidz

By Tom Gress, Event Coordinator

Even though we had a late winter and rainy spring, we are very pleased to have achieved this year's goal by doubling the attendance for the 2nd Annual Kruz 4 Kidz 2011 in Livingston, MT. Throughout the inception of this Kruz, we wanted to bring the enthusiasts of cars, motorcycles, trucks, hot rods, corvettes, street rods, originally restored beauties, etc., together in a small town to raise money for our Montana Hope Kidz, with money from registration and personal donations only. We do not offer raffles, prizes, auction items, etc., we just want you to Kruz to a town for socializing with folks of similar interests. Thanks to Gil & the local Livingston Car Club and Bill and his staff at The Best Western Yellowstone Inn for their part in the show and shine awards during the event. A Special thanks to Tom & Jo, Clint & Karon, Red & Glenda & Cinda, for registration and personal donations, Rick Bice of Allegra Printing in Missoula, President of the Montana Hope Project, Trooper Richard Hader & Trooper Cal Janes and the 4 MHP Troopers who blocked the streets during our rainy parade through Livingston and on I-90, and everyone else that attended & helped with posters and donations. The local public interest was overwhelming between the rain showers.

Event Results 54 paid registrations @ $35 ea. = $1,890.00 Minus $10 ea. for awards = $540 paid to BWYI for their awards Gross income from registration @ $25 plus donations = $2,600.00 Net income after advertising, etc. = $1,750.00 to our Montana Hope Project Our goal is to raise $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 net to MHP each year by registration/ donations only. 3rd Annual Kruz 4 Kidz Event will be Saturday May 12, 2012 in Missoula. Call or email Tom Gress @ 406-544-3207 or for more information.

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Hike for Heroes By Lacy Schneider, Event Coordinator

Army 889th

Flathead County Deputies and SWAT along with Lacy’s niece, Makenzie About 100 hikers joined in the fun this year, helping raise $1618! The 2nd annual Hike for Heroes was held on Whitefish Mountain Resort on July 9th, 2011. Due to poor trail conditions, we did not take the DannyOn Trail this year, but instead did a lower elevation trail that was about 4 miles and very family friendly. We are hoping to do the same trail next year! We had plaques all along the trail telling about each fallen police officer. The Flathead County deputies and SWAT had a large team, also the Army 889th had the largest team of 18 hikers! The Curves team contributed the most at a total of $693! Our donations went to The Montana Hope Project and also Montana C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors).

Jim & Lacy Schneider

Pat Herman, Jim Schneider, Lt Col Huseby, Col Tooley, & Tyler Reed

Photos Courtesy of Lacy Schneider

Lee & Becky Sturdevant Page 17

Story by Mark Tome, Event Coordinator

Ride for Hope 2011 On July 23, 2011, the Ride for Hope 500 kicked off its 22nd annual ride with the usual starting points of Kalispell, Missoula, Great Falls, Havre, Three Forks, and Billings. This year’s ride sported a final destination of Missoula Montana, with the festivities being held at Montana Harley. Despite the troubling economy, once again the citizens and businesses of Montana turned out in great fashion to contribute to the many children with life threatening illnesses. With approximately 100 riders and 150 meals served, over $70,000 has been raised, and the tally is still climbing. Once again the top 3 pledge earners remained the same with Dave McCormack, Royce Bird, and Wes Matson claiming the rights. Wes Matson also had his ticket chosen for the free trip give-a-way that is given away every two years. Chuck Grier took home the prize for early registration.

...the top 3 pledge earners remained the same with Dave McCormack, Royce Bird, and Wes Matson claiming the rights.

Photo by Mark Tome

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There were several past wish recipients in attendance, including: Dustin Tulberg, Jessica Beers, and Devin Armstrong. All of these children chose Disney World for their wish. Don & Betty Gull were in attendance; their son, Grant Simpson, received the 100th wish that was given out by the Montana Hope Project. Nick Kolstad and his parents Darryl and Lori Kolstad were there to enjoy the festivities. Darryl and Lori continue to support the ride every year, as they are riders. Thanks to all the riders and donors for your support. Best wishes to all the families of Hope.

Ride for Hope 2011 Raises over $73,000!

Anyone with questions can contact Mark Tome at

The 28th Project Anniversary and 23rd year for the Ride for Hope will be next year with the ďŹ nal destination being Havre. The ride is scheduled for July and the colors will be purple and white. As for the 2013 Ride for Hope, it was decided to return to Fairmont Hot Springs, with the colors being silver & blue. Thanks again to the many riders, organizers and businesses that make the Ride for Hope possible, and we look forward to seeing you in Havre. You can also check out our website for details and pictures as they become available at

(406)- 860-1919 MTome

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Billings Benefit

By Dawn White

The Annual Dinner and Auction was held in Billings at the Holiday Inn Grand. We had three wish recipient families there to speak and join us for dinner: Kimber Emmons (daughter Kenna, deceased); Brent and his parents, Ben and Kristy; and Skylehr and his parents, Terry and Peggy. All the families came up and gave powerful talks on their experiences with their triumphs, struggles and what the Montana Hope Project means to them. A lot of powerful words coming from strong people. There were about 180 people in attendance and approximately $20,000.00 was raised for the Hope Project.

Lake Mary Ronan ATV Ride This year’s 107 mile ATV netted over $5,600.00 for the Montana Hope Project. A special thanks to Royce Bird and his crew for coordinating this fund raiser.

Poker Tournament

By Tom Taylor

Our 7th Annual Charity Poker Tournament was held at The Sting in Great Falls on the 5th of March 2011. Members from the Great Falls Exchange Club and I organized and promoted the event. Over 45 local businesses sponsored the event and the total raised was $12,790.00. We had 49 players and prize money was awarded to the final winners in the amount of $3,480.00. Both organizations split $4,244.20 after expenses to be used towards their respective goals. The 8th Annual is already in the works, scheduled for March the 3rd at The Sting.

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AAMVA Auction By Sheila Prior AAMVA Regions III & IV Member Support The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators is a non-profit association whose members include departments of motor vehicles and state police agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each of AAMVAs four (4) Regions holds an annual conference in the jurisdiction that the Regional President calls home. Montana Highway Patrol Colonel Michael Tooley served as the Region IV President during the past year and hosted the Regional conference at the Big Sky Resort. As part of the conference, a silent auction is held as part of the last night’s festivities. Proceeds benefit a charity of the President’s choosing. President Tooley selected the Montana Hope Project and proceeds from this year’s auction raised a record $6,951.52. During the past five years, Region IV has raised nearly $23,000 for law enforcement related charities. The Region is proud to support the work of their law enforcement members.

Photos by Mark Bosch

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Hope Project Reunions By Kathy Sangray

Summer Where: Izaak Walton Inn at Essex Montana near Glacier National Park When: 1st Weekend in June (rain or shine) What: Too much fun! Like: Helicopter tours of Glacier Park with Glacier Heli Tours; Red Jammer Bus tour of park; Glacier Park Boat tour on Lake McDonald; Cut Bank Fire Department bar-b-que; surrey, stagecoach and motorcycle rides; and who could forget Eddie’s Ice Cream! If all that wasn’t enough to fill up a weekend, add in family portraits taken by Victoria Wojciechowski of Creative Vision, entertainment by Jack Gladstone, magic tricks by Dan Jimmerson, & music performed by the Zylawy Brothers. The bonfire and pictures with the Montana Highway Patrol Troopers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police added to a wonderful weekend. Each new Hope child also went home with a quilt hand made by long time Project supporter, Judy Mohrenweiser. The quilts are a momento of the fun and also to remind them they are not alone, the Montana Hope Project stands side-by-side with our Hope families. Tom Taylor and Mrs. Claus

Winter The first weekend in December we met up at Fairmont Hot Springs again to share more good times. Hope families were met with plates of Christmas cookies and gifts in their room before heading for the pools. The heated pools and waterslide can’t be beat in December, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus certainly got everyone excited about the coming Christmas season. And after soaking all day in the hot springs, the Cold Stone Ice Cream cakes were quite refreshing. Thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers that made the wonderful weekend possible.

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Photo by Victoria Wojciechowski, Creative Vision

2011 SPONSORS Hope Project Sponsors

Hike for Heroes:

Jensen Jewelers, Jim’s Bar, Kleen King, Cardinal Distributing of Bozeman, Rocky Mountain Credit Union, Missoula Federal Credit Union, Town Pump, Montana Tow Truck Association, Wingate Inn (Missoula), Neomesh Microsystems, Minuteman Aviation, Glacier Heli Tours, Hellgate Corvette Club, Garden City Rods & Customs, Wingate by Wyndham, Glacier Haven Inn, Walmart, Exchange Clubs of Montana, Robert Hawkins Oil & Gas, Clausen Distributing of Helena, Action Print of Helena, Albertsons, “Knight, Dahood, Everett & Sievers,” Subway of Anaconda, Skakles & Gallagher Law Firm, Big Sky Radiology, “Klinger, Russell & Helen”, Summit Beverage, Dee Motor Company, Dick Irvin Trucking, Thriftway, Sutey Oil, Yellowstone Club, Grizzly Marathon & Half-Marathon, The Rebekah’s of Montana, Warrior Auto Works, GSK Biological Lab (Hamilton), Blue Knights

Gold Medal sponsors: Gold Rush Shirt Co., Whitefish Mountain Resort, Howies Tire and Alignment, Sound Solutions, Les Schwab Tires, The Daily Interlake and Subway.

Ride for Hope:

Winter Reunion

AAA Montana, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Action Print –Helena MT, Creative Vision Photography-Kalispell, Outdoor Motor Sports-Helena, Yellowstone Harley Davidson-Belgrade, Montana Harley Davidson-Missoula, The Leather StoreHelena, Five Valley Honda-Missoula, Yellowstone Polaris-Billings, Ironhorse, The Wingate-Missoula

Butte Silver Bow Police Association, Montana Narcotics Officers Association, Anaconda Fire and Police Departments, Anaconda Hospital, Montana State Prison, Montana Correctional Officers Association, Eric Huber, Lorena Craig, Butte Fire Department, Summit Beverage, Cold Stone Creamery, Big Sky High School Culinary Arts (provided cookies for the families) and Town Pump

Silver Medal sponsors: Plum Creek, KIDDS, Triple D, Able Body Collision Repair, and Flathead Electric. Lunch sponsors: Subway, Costco, Super 1, and Safeway.

Summer Reunion Izaak Walton Inn, Glacier Haven, The HalfWay Motel, GPI, Glacier Park Boat Tours, Glacier Heli Tours, Cold Stone Creamery, Glacier Bank, Janitors World, Food Service of America, Montana Coffee Traders, Big O Tires, Montana Woman Magazine, Creative Vision, Cut Bank Volunteer Fire Dept., Missoula Police Dept. Association

Please see event stories for more of our appreciated sponsors.

Page 23

Photo Gallery

James helps with leveling the yard for his new “park”

Hike for Heroes Photos by Lacy Schneider

Courtesy Photo

Kruz 4 Kidz Photos by Tom Gress

Summer Reunion

Winter Reunion

Photos Courtesy of Audrey Collins

Photos by Creative Vision

Page 24

Larissa of Frenchtown will be going to the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii in January with her family. Larissa was presented with her wish during halftime of a football game in Frenchtown. She is an athletic basketball and softball player who is suffering from a rare form of cancer called fibrosarcoma. Larissa says she is very thankful for the chance to have a special trip with her family. Photo by KECI Staff, Missoula

Troopers Ben Havron and Sergeant Jason Hildenstab give Kennar a Nikon CoolPix camera to take with her on her trip to Hawaii with her sisters, Kwyncee, second from the right, and Kerstie. Photo by Dylan Brown Helena Independent Record

Courtesy Photos

Hope Families had the special treat of meeting the Blue Angels. From left to right: Skylehr, Michael, unknown, unknown, Joran, Myles, Michael, Ananye, Shoshanna, Amanda and Jahzarra

Due to the serious nature of Casandra’s illness, her wish to go to Disney World was granted rather quickly. Billings Area Coordinator, Dawn White, and MHP Trooper Kyle Hayter presented Casandra with her wish at her favorite restaurant, Red Lobster. Casandra, along with her Mom, Tina, and Dad, Drew, and her best friend, Kaitlyn, went to Give Kids the World in Orlando Florida for a week long stay.

Photo by Dawn White

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Follow Us on the Web Please go to for more information. Find stories on events, wishes granted, and a calendar of upcoming events. Contact information is also available for all the coordinators. If you would like to help with an event or organize your own, please contact the coordinator in your area to get involved. Please submit website & newsletter stories, letters, photos, ideas, information and updates to the editor: Montana Hope Project C/O Kathy Sangray 1375 18th Street Havre, MT 59501 Or email to

Give the Gift of Hope Help make a wish come true for a critically ill Montana child. Make a donation to the Montana Hope Project in the name of a family member, friend or recipient. A donation to the Montana Hope Project directly benefits Montana children. This gift is made in honor/memory of :______________________________________ It is being given by: ___________________________________________________ (your name) Send confirmation card to: ______________________________________________ (name) ______________________________________________________________________ (mailing address) (city) (state) (zip) Complete and send to: The Montana Hope Project, P.O. Box 5927, Helena, MT 59604

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Hope Project Gear Order Form $






10� Thermos


















$5.00 Golf Balls




100% Cotton T-Shirt

Hope Bear




Baseball Cap Polo Shirt




Coffee Mug

Tall Mug




Fanny Pak


Order Total$_______ Mail your check and order form to: Montana Hope Project, PO Box 5927 Helena, MT 59604 Name __________________________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________________________ Phone __________________________________________________________________________ Page 27

The Bears That Care Non-Profit US Postage Paid

Montana Hope Project PO Box 5927 Helena, MT 59604

Helena, MT Permit #243

The Montana Hope Project is a non-proďŹ t organization registered with the Secretary of State. It is a 501(c)(3) organization and it follows all federal guidelines to maintain its status.

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Montana Hope Project January 2012 Newsletter  
Montana Hope Project January 2012 Newsletter  

MHP Newsletter