author: taylor balfour | news writer
A little boy’s legacy lives on in annual charity event
Any resident of Regina for a decent amount of time has surely seen sweaters and t-shirts sporting the phrase Iron Will on the front with because of Will on the back. The story as to why these items exist, however, is devastating.
“Yep he was pretty wonderful,” Desiree Rattray said when asked to describe her son, William.
“He had these long eyelashes and big blue eyes and loved nurses the best. He would get all flirty when they would come to check on him. Nobody believed us until they would see it themselves.”
Desiree and Jason Rattray lost their 13-month-old son, William Rattray, in 2013 due to an unexpected heart failure. Throughout his short life, he battled laryngomalacia and tracheomalacia, which is an underdevelopment of the larynx and trachea.
The tragedy, however, has sparked good within the community. Now, his legacy lives on through the annual Iron Will Family Day organized by his family.
“All of the money raised will go to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation,” Rattray states.
“The new children’s hospital in Saskatoon will open in late 2019, and our goal is to raise $300,000 to have the Ear, Nose & Throat Exam Room and the equipment in that room named after our late son.”
“We traveled often to The Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton for the specialized care there,” she explained.
“The new hospital in Saskatoon was the perfect fit for our fundraising efforts. Although we know the outcome wouldn’t have been different, we can’t help but think how great it would have been to have a children’s hospital closer to home.”
Luckily for them, their goal is well within reach.
“We’re so close to our goal! We just need help from the community to reach it,” Rattray explains.
“Tickets are available at the door for only $25/kid. Adults are free!”
So, what exactly does the event entail?
“We have many different carnival type activities, including bouncers, obstacle courses, bubble balls, face painting, a hair salon, crafts, clowns, superheroes and other special guests,” Rattray explains.
The date is set for Saturday, Oct. 21.
“It’s going to be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sat Oct 21 at the Regina South Leisure Centre at 170 Sunset Drive. It’s a really fun day targeted to kids ages 2-8, but it really is fun for the whole family.”
“You can also visit our website, becauseofwill.com, to learn how to make an online donation straight to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation and have it count towards our total.”
As important as the event is to help residents of Saskatchewan, it’s important to remember the little boy who’s legacy started it all says Rattray
“It was like he knew he only had a little bit of time with us and didn’t want to miss out on any of it by being far away from us. He was cuddled constantly. I’m so glad I did that,” Desiree explains.
Thankfully, due to their dedicated efforts, Will’s memory will forever live on in helping other families in need.