Fundraiser

Sickboy kicks off fundraiser to grant adult wishes

Hosts of the Sickboy podcast throw ‘SickWish’ gala Saturday night

From left: Taylor MacGillivary, Jeremie Saunders and Brian Stever speak at their ‘SickWish’ Gala at the Museum of Natural History.   Hannah Daley

When Jeremie Saunders was 14, he was granted a wish — a wish he thinks he wasted.

That’s why Saunders and his co-hosts of the popular Sickboy podcast want to grant the wish of an adult living with an illness — physical, mental or otherwise. They hosted a sold-out SickWish gala Saturday night at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax.

Saunders, now 30, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs and other organs. He’s been hosting the Sickboy podcast with friends Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary since 2015.

“The very first episode I revealed to Brian and Taylor how I botched my kid’s wish, which was pretty embarrassing as an adult to admit that I could have had anything as a teenager and that’s what I chose,” Saunders said in an interview during the gala.

His wish for a shopping spree at the Halifax Shopping Centre was fulfilled by the Children’s Wish Foundation. He bought Air Jordan shoes, a Discman with anti-shock technology, and later took his friends to a lobster dinner at Salty’s.

Hand poke artist Felix Morrison tattoos a gala attendee.   Hannah Daley

At Saturday’s event, attendees were able to walk through the museum to participate in different experiences and see different exhibitions. There were acrobats, roller skaters, belly dancers and palm readers.

The theme of the gala was about trying something new, such as getting straight-razor shaves or stick-and-poke tattoos, or trying out virtual reality in a VR arcade.

“I’ve never gotten a straight-razor shave, and I’ve always wanted to, so we did some calling around,” said Saunders. “I know lots of people have a bucket list of getting a tattoo … or something very unique like to go climbing Mount Everest, so we got a VR arcade to show up and bring that experience to the table.”

Jeremie Saunders gets his first straight-razor shave in the marine gallery area of the museum.   Hannah Daley

In a speech during the event, MacGillivary said they have already received requests for wishes, such as an accessible Galápagos Islands tour and a trip to see the Northern Lights.

Some attendees, like Sarah Beck, know someone who is dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Her brother and sister both have cystic fibrosis.

“My brother actually got the ‘make a wish’ thing and my sister never did. She’s 38 and living with CF,” Beck said. “For someone to come in and say, ‘What would you do right now at this point in your life’ is a really nice thing to do. It’s just a great cause.”

Saturday’s event was the kick-off of the Sickboy Wish Fund , which runs into the spring. So far they’ve raised about $25,000.

The final decision on who will get their wish granted is expected be made by April 1. To apply, applicants or nominees must be 19 or older, have some type of sickness, have not received a wish in the past and must not request a shopping spree.

The organizers said they have received more than 30 applications so far.

Saunders said the final decision will likely be up to a committee so that he, Stever and MacGillivary are not involved.

Saunders is excited to “live vicariously through them to make up for me fucking up my wish.” He also looks forward to seeing what else applicants ask for following Saturday’s gala.

“Tonight is about life — about living life to the absolute fullest and having no regrets,” he said.