After his own experience with leukemia, a Westfield High School junior is giving back again after a successful inaugural fundraiser in early 2019.
From 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 3, Kyler Koning, 16, will conduct Wish for a Wish, a fundraiser benefitting the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, at Field Brewing, 303 E. Main St.
At 22 months old, Koning was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“While I had cancer, the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund found out about my condition and they sponsored me,” Koning said. “Their purpose is to grant wishes to sick children. They gave me the gift of a trip to Disney World. This is why I am holding this fundraiser, to give that chance to other children as was given to me.”
Last year, Koning started the fundraiser to celebrate his 16th birthday.
“I didn’t want much for my birthday, and since my birthday is so close to Christmas, there was no point in asking for another shipment of gifts that year, so I decided to only ask for donations,” he said. “But I just love giving in general. Before the fundraiser, I only gave in small ways, but the feeling I got from giving back was immense and is honestly underrated.”
A group of Koning’s peers in the National Honor Society also help with the fundraiser. They are Jacob Beene, Tyler Smith, Mahamat Djour, Julia Clark, Sophie Porter, Sophia Brown, Grace Connor, Masey Coots and Josh Springborn.
Last year, the event raised approximately $4,600. This year, Koning said he wants to raise at least $6,000, the average cost of granting a wish through the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund.
The fundraising event will include crafts for kids, live music, food and more. There will be donation boxes and a variety of other ways to give. Attendees also can bring a toy for a drive that will benefit Riley Children’s Hospital.
Koning also is accepting donations at gofundme.com/wish-for-a-wish. All proceeds go directly to the charity.