It was a sight to see and an experience to hear as over 500 trucks made their presence known at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Sunday for the 22nd annual Wishes on Wheels event.
Over the past two decades, the event has substantially grown. “Seventy-one trucks we started out with 2019. We have had 671 trucks so this year we’re hoping to break that record,” said President of Wishes on Wheels Kristin Garrison.
It’s an event centered around raising money for kids with critical illness. Families who participated in the event experienced the parade of trucks and a carnival full of color, but the goal of the day was helping Make A Wish Connecticut.
“You know this brings them such joy and that’s what Make A Wish does,” said Marketing Communications Manager for Make A Wish CT Carin Buckman. “We create hope and joy for wish kids and their families and this is an event that they look forward to every single year,” she said.
The event has raised close to $2 million over the last two decades and for Make A Wish, it has made a difference. “The average cost of a wish is about $10,000 so just because of this event, we’ve been able to grant close to 200 wishes in Connecticut and that’s amazing,” said Buckman.
Truck driver Jimmy Martineau, who started participating 2 years ago, said he’s been hooked ever since. “It just lightens your day. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, you drive by a bunch of kids that are in need and they are smiling from ear to ear. You can’t beat that,” said Martineau.
And the proceeds help kids like Precious Koussougeo. After being diagnosed with sickle cell disease, Precious had a wish to adventure abroad, but with the challenges of Covid that had to be put on hold so now another wish will come true…
”I’m excited to go to Disney World,” said Koussougeo.
“It’s something great to me and my family to come over here and see all this happening,” Precious’ father Messan Koussougeo said.