Final 'Iron Will' superhero fundraiser pleases crowds, hopes to reach $300K
For the last time, residents in Regina were invited to don superhero costumes to remember a young boy known for his courage and determination in battling illness.
A long-running fundraising effort done in memory of Will Rattray—nicknamed 'Iron Will'—came to and end on Saturday at the South Leisure Neighbourhood Centre.
If all went as planned, $300,000 will have been raised for Saskatoon's Jim Pattison Children's Hospital.
William Rattray was born in 2012 with adverse health issues making it hard for him to breath and eat. His family says after numerous surgeries he was on his way to regaining his health.
He died of unexpected heart failure in August 2013.
"When you have a sick child, your whole world revolves around them," said Desiree Rattray, the boy's mother.
"All of a sudden, he's gone," she said, her voice wavering with emotion as she recalled needing to do something with her energy and feelings when her son died.
"When you lose a child, you're afraid that people are going to forget them."
A day for Will
The fourth and final "Iron Will Family Day" wrapped up on Saturday, which offered a carnival-type atmosphere, including face painting, snacks, crafts, an obstacle course, a teddy bear clinic and live entertainers.
For event attendees like Robin Ganshorn, the event holds a special place in her heart. She gave birth to a three-pound 13-ounce baby boy in the neonatal intensive care unit in 2011 and said it was a miracle he survived.
"Events like these are just incredibly important to Saskatchewan," said Ganshorn.
"To be a part of this and be able to bring my child to this event and participate in the activities is fantastic."
The Iron Will campaign is slated to reach its $300,000 goal after Saturday's event, Rattray said.
"We've worked our friends to the bone," she said.
Saturday's attendance was estimated at about 600 people, according to organizers.
A room for Will
The large sum raised gives Will's family the naming rights to the ear, nose and throat exam room at the children's hospital being built in Saskatoon.
The updated tally won't be finalized until later in the weekt, but Rattray said she knows the total would make Iron Will proud.