This year the Grand Rapids Tri’s charity partner is Make-A-Wish Michigan®. Make-A-Wish Michigan grants about one wish per day for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. Dan VanSkiver and his family are very familiar with the good that Make-A-Wish does for families dealing with the struggle of having a critically ill child. When Dan and his wife Susie’s son Trevor was just 2 years old they got the phone call that most parents don’t even want to imagine. Trevor was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately underwent treatment. Because he was so ill, the VanSkivers had to wait for an important window to open up where he was healthy enough to be able to go on the trip to Florida that Make-A-Wish provided for them. Dan says that trip “Helped mentally prepare us for the rest of the battle.”
Not being able to do anything to help your critically ill child get well can be frustrating and stressful. This is when Dan took up running as an outlet for that. This led to him becoming a triathlete. He remembers that first triathlon he completed having two miles left on the run and wanting to be done, wanting to walk, but he remembered Trevor and all the kids like him who don’t have the option of quitting their battle against their illness and he pushed on to the finish line.
Trevor, 12, was just 3 years old when he got his wish granted, he is now a 10-year cancer survivor who has grown up to be a baseball player, a skier, and a triathlete himself. As an athlete these days Trevor never takes his healthy body for granted. This journey led Dan to create the Dream Team for Make-A-Wish. A team that will compete in 5k, 10k, endurance races and triathlons to raise money to make other family’s dreams and wishes come true. Approximately two dozen athletes will be racing the GR Tri as part of the Dream Team with a goal of raising $10,000. To learn more or make a donation please go to michigan.wish.org
Dan and his wife Susie live in Ada with their four sons; Trevor 12, Jonah & Eli 10, and Ty 8. Good luck Dream Team athletes!
UPDATE: The Make-A-Wish Dream Team will be participating in the 2018 Grand Rapids Tri. If you’re interested in joining their team for the 2018 race or making a donation to the team click here.