Avery Sukut MT Hope Project Recipient
It is devastating to know your child has a terminal illness, and the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness overcomes many parents who deal with such a tragedy. Brent and Lauren Sukut of Sidney, MT were pleasantly surprised to find that a friend in the county attorney's office reached out in a networking chain that eventually reached Dave Evans of the Montana Hope Project for their daughter Avery, 6.
Dave Evans, Area Coordinator for Eastern Montana at the Hope Project since 2013, responded to the call to grant this little girl's wish quickly and with enthusiasm, as is the way with the Project. Started in 1984 by Montana Highway Patrolmen who wanted to go beyond their duties and help grant wishes to sick children, the Montana Hope Project is a non-profit organization operated primarily by volunteers and funded by corporate and private donations, along with fundraising events.
Young Avery's Central Elementary School classmates gathered in Tracy Kessel's K-1 classroom to watch little Avery receive her gift from the Hope Project - an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
"We also have a check for you." Evans said to Avery. "How much do you think you'll need down there?"
"A hundred!" replied the little girl.
"A hundred?" asked Evans. "How about two hundred? Three hundred? How about a thousand?" The Montana Hope Project, along with the paid trip, supplied a $1000 check for the family.
Highway Patrolman Nyle Obergfell gave the ecstatic child a teddy bear while County Sheriff's Department officers Bob Burnison and James Trudell, Sidney Police Department Officers Travis Rosaaen and Laura Finn stood by with Avery's parents, brother Gradin, 8, classmates, and teacher.
Avery is the 447th child to receive a wish from the Hope Project since 1984. Hospitals and counselors who receive children with terminal illnesses contact the Montana Hope Project and it is determined whether the child qualifies. "We've never turned down one that qualifies," said Evans.
"It is like a family," said Evans about the Project and the families they help, "We do two reunions for all the families a year, summer and winter. No other organization like ours does that."
"I'm doing this for the child," said Evans as the children ate cupcakes and chattered with their classmate. Evans' work and dedication with the Hope Project made it clear that wonderful and lasting memories can be had with more than a little hope.