GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — A Grandmother in East Grand Rapids is hiking 21 miles for Make-A-Wish Michigan this weekend.
Normally, dozen's of hikers do all the miles in one day together, but this year, everyone is on their own for the virtual event.
For Terri Sanchez, this year is extra-special because she’s hit a big milestone; turning 70 back in May.
Sanchez loves to hike and isn’t afraid of putting a lot of miles on her hiking boots.
She said, “I mean once you've done 21 miles, or you've done 10 miles or 12 miles, 7 miles is nothing."
That’s her plan for the weekend: 7 miles over three days to complete the 2020 Trailblaze Challege with Make-a-Wish Michigan.
“I love the camaraderie of everybody. I just love being around the outdoors and all the people that are so passionate about this hike," she said.
Due to the pandemic, the normally one-day-event has gone virtual, with every hiker breaking up the 21 miles on their own as they see fit.
Even though making the hike at 70 years old is a big accomplishment for Sanchez, it’s not the most important reason for completing the event, it’s her grandson, Mason.
Sanchez said, “He was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, so that was a condition that requires three heart surgeries. He had the first one at seven days."
Sanchez said that Mason's Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World a few years ago meant everything to their family.
She said, “He took a picture with buzz light year, goofy, and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, so he was just over the top excited. As much as he's gone through, any kind of joy is good."
That's why the organization is still doing what they can right now.
Sherri Collins, Vice President of Marketing with Make-A-Wish Michigan said, “Wishes continue to happen and move forward in the midst of the Pandemic. We are granting wishes to have play sets and campers, and puppies, and online shopping sprees, so many wishes are still coming true this summer."
Collins said that they have 800 wishes waiting to be granted and 230 of them are from the West Michigan area.
“These kids need your support. They battle their medical conditions with such courage, and fortitude, and these wishes, they matter they are so important to our families," she said.
Sanchez said that there are definitely things that she will miss this year.
“You just build a friendship and that friendship, you just feel together and so it's hard now, because you're so disconnected,” she said.
Though the journey will be a bit lonely this year, Sanchez said that nothing could keep her away.
“It is just so moving, very moving and worth every single blister you might get, every single ache you might feel after afterwards, it is all worth it for those kids,” she said.
There’s still time to join 2020 Trailblazer Challenge, just click here. You can also make a donation there.