Eagle Valley High School makes a Basalt girl’s wish come true

The school raised over $31,000 for Make-a-Wish Colorado in its annual Wish Week

Ali Longwell
Vail Daily
Sadie F., 6, from Basalt watches games being played for the Make-A-Wish Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. The game was blind folded musical chairs.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

GYPSUM — With chants of “we believe in Sadie’s wish, we believe in Sadie’s wish…” echoing through the Eagle Valley High School gymnasium on Wednesday, the school’s students and faculty celebrated the closure of another successful Wish Week.

The annual fundraiser supports Make-a-Wish Colorado, with this year’s Wish Week celebrating Sadie F. (last name withheld), a 6-year-old from Basalt who recently battled Leukemia.

“Organizations like Make-a-Wish bring so much joy and hope to kids and their families that have been hit hard by traumatic events like cancer. Knowing that Sadie would have a wish granted in the future gave us something so fun and positive to look forward to during her treatments,” said Sadie’s mother, Kristen. “After going through such a difficult time we really wanted to celebrate and pay it forward to other kids to help raise money to bring them happiness through hard times as well.”

Make-a-Wish is an organization that helps bring hope to kids like Sadie, who are diagnosed with and battling a critical illness, through granting a wish. For Sadie, this wish is to visit Hawaii — which according to Kristen, Sadie calls “paradise” — and swim with the dolphins.

Sadie, 6, from Basalt, watches a dance-off competition for the Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. Multiple activities and games were performed for Sadie’s entertainment.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Kristen said that the inspiration for Sadie’s wish came from a Barbie movie called “Dolphin Magic,” which she has loved for several years.

“For her fourth birthday she had a mermaid-themed party, then for her fifth birthday she requested a luau party so she could dance like a hula dancer and we watched hula dancing videos all afternoon,” Kristen said. “When thinking of the most magical wish Sadie was drawn to Hawaii, and when she found out people could actually swim with the dolphins she was the most excited she had ever been.”  

During its 2023 Wish Week, the school raised over $31,000 for Make-a-Wish Colorado, with donations expected to continue trickling in over the weeks to come. While these donations will help grant Sadie’s wish, it will also help numerous other kids in Colorado.

“Make-a-Wish is just such a great foundation; we’ve been working with them for the past six years and every year we’re able to make multiple wishes come true, just through this week alone,” said Audrey Tatro, an Eagle Valley sophomore and the Wish Week co-chair.

Eagle Valley High School kicked off its sixth annual wish week with Sadie in mind on Wednesday, March 8. Over the course of the next seven days, the school community hosted numerous events to raise money including everything from pickleball, volleyball, soccer and dodgeball tournaments to a Sadie Hawkins Dance, trivia and more.

Multiple feeder schools, including Brush Creek Elementary School, also came to support Sadie during the Make-A-Wish Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. Brush Creek raised over $7,000 during Wish Week.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

It also received a lending hand from other schools in the community, with Brush Creek and Red Hill Elementary also raising $10,879 during Wish Week.

“We didn’t realize how much the schools got involved like this until this opportunity presented itself and we were blown away by the students at Eagle Valley High School, Brush Creek Elementary, Red Hill Elementary and their surrounding communities,” Kristen said.

According to Kristen, Sadie had been excited about the closing assembly “because she knew it was all about having fun and celebrating after a long rough road beating cancer.”

And even though Sadie started her day not feeling her best, Kristen said the excitement and joy from the school community pulled her through.

“You could tell she wasn’t feeling great but pushed through it and even smiled and participated because of the energy of the crowd and fun they were having,” she said. “Much like this whole cancer process the moments of joy, fun, love and positive energy get you through some of the toughest times and the communities that make that happen are absolutely incredible.”

For Tatro, her favorite part of Wish Week is seeing the impact on the child and family at the assembly.

“It’s really emotional for everyone; I just get goosebumps thinking about it,” Tatro said.

With students leading the way on the fundraising week, it offers the high school students an opportunity to give back to their community and see the impact of the generosity.

Paul Steiner, a teacher at Eagle Valley High School, gets his hair dyed pink during the Make-A-Wish Wish Week assembly at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum. His guess was the farthest off of what the school community raised for Make-a-Wish Colorado.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“A lot of times everyone is doing something different in high school, but this is one thing the whole school comes together over, and it’s just the coolest thing,” Tatro said. “Cancer is just devastating for everyone, especially seeing a child have their childhood taken away by such a terrible illness. (During Wish Week), you see everyone come together and just want to solve these issues and contribute whatever they can to this child that’s in need.”

Zaida Weems, an Eagle Valley senior and the Wish Week assembly committee head, said having and seeing this impact has been her favorite part of participating in the fundraising effort for the past four years.

“I really like the fact that I can give back to my community. I’m a senior this year and for all four years that I’ve been here, we’ve had a local wish kid, so it’s been really cool to see,” Weems said. “We have a whole community, and it’s not just our school, it’s the parents, it’s our feeder schools — it’s cool to see how many people come together.”

This is Eagle Valley High School’s sixth year participating in Make-a-Wish Colorado’s student-led fundraising program, raising over $95,000 in the first five years for the organization. According to a release from Make-a-Wish, this was enough to grant wishes to 13 children across the state.

This year, Tatro said the hope is that the funds raised will be able to grant not only Sadie’s wish but also four or five others.

While Eagle Valley High School had its closing ceremony for Wish Week, it is still accepting online donations for two more weeks to support Make-a-Wish Colorado in honor of Sadie’s wish. To donate, visit

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