The Dream Team benefiting Make-A-Wish Michigan strives to connect endurance athletes looking to challenge themselves on the race course, with an additional challenge of racing for something that is bigger than themselves, helping kids. It all started with Dan and Susie VanSkiver, a Dad and Mom who were impacted by Make-A-Wish and a trip to Disney World with their family and son Trevor, who battled cancer when he was a kid. While seeing your child sick can feel hopeless, conquering a physical obstacle while raising money can help bring that hope to light. The Dream Team will toe the start line at Grand Rapids Triathlon on June 14 and will swim, bike and run to help kids fighting a critical illness, as each member will raise a set goal that will go towards helping grant wishes in Michigan.
Meet the 2020 Wish Granters!
Wish Granter: Andy Holtgrieve
Joined the Dream Team: 2019
Amount Raised First Year: Over $1200
How did you get involved with the Dream Team?
Dan VanSkiver was the coach of my son’s baseball team and that is how I got to know him and Trevor (VanSkiver). Sometime in December of 2018, Dan posted the story about The Dream Team and an invitation to join. I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon and felt it would be helpful for me to commit and be accountable to a purpose greater than myself. The VanSkiver’s journey with Trevor’s cancer really hit me as a father of four kids. I can not even begin to image how helpless you would feel as a parent watching your child go through that experience. A triathlon and all the training involved is a perfect way to empower yourself as well as helping empower other families in the same seemingly helpless situation by raising money for Make a Wish Michigan.
What is your triathlon background?
I had no background whatsoever, other than watching a couple of races in my life. The Dream Team was my first experience actually competing in one.
How was your race experience?
Amazing! My goal was to finish in as little pain as possible…GOAL ACCOMPLISHED! I also had the best nap in my life later that afternoon.
How did you fundraise the money?
Primarily through social media. That’s my plan again this year, but will strive to find more ways to make it easy for people to donate
Why do you think the mission of the Dream Team is important?
Serious life-threatening illness could happen to anyone at any time. I think it’s important for us to allow the blessings in our lives to be reflected in our thoughts, words and actions. Gratitude in action is the best kind of thanksgiving because it comes from an authentic place. Make a Wish relies on 100% donated dollars. This is no federal funding and there are not grants. It doesn’t get much more authentic than Make a Wish. Dreaming BIG and restoring hope and optimism in the face of personal struggle is beyond worthy and deserving of support.
What does it mean to you to be a Wish Granter for MAW?
I am humbled and proud to support such a worthy cause. We need to believe in our dreams and wishes.
Why should someone join the Dream Team?
You really can’t come up with any reason NOT to!