Express Staff Writer
NEWPORT CITY – On Tuesday, Cumberland Farms on East Main Street in Newport kicked off a campaign that will donate 20 cents from each coffee and fountain beverage sold over the next 30 days to Make-a-Wish Vermont. The minimum donation will be $1,000.
The campaign is part of the company’s grand re-opening for the Newport store that underwent major renovations earlier this year. Company officials, right after the start of renovations, put out a request that asked local residents to nominate an organization for the store to make a large donation too. Pat Royer was the one who suggested Make-a-Wish.
For one week last year Pat's granddaughter Emerson Royer, along with her parents Jaime and Chris and her sister Charlotte, spent a week in Florida courtesy of Make-a-Wish Vermont. The Royers qualified for the free trip because Emerson, five, has Vanishing White Matter Leukodystrophy. The progressive genetic disorder, over time, will deteriorate Emerson’s muscles and the white matter in her brain. As the white matter deteriorates so will Emerson's motor functions. The Royers are not sure what that will mean for their daughter.
The trip meant a lot to the Royer family, who stayed at Give the Kids the World a 72-acre resort just for Make a Wish Children. The family received passes to the Disney, Universal, and Sea World amusement parks.
“It was for her to experience going to Disney the way a normal child should,” Jaime said of the trip. The family doesn’t know how long Emerson has before she can’t walk.
Jaime is very pleased that her daughter had the opportunity to enjoy the trip without any worries. She said children at Give the Kids the World don’t recognize each other as having some type of condition.
“They are just kids who are there to enjoy themselves,” said Jaime. “For us to be able to see her enjoy herself, as a child should, was priceless to us. Her wish was to see the princesses, and to see her face the first time she saw them on stage brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.”
Emerson’s favorite princess is Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She said she enjoyed the rides and the special carousel at the Give the Kids the World Resort.
“It went round and round,” she said with a huge smile.
Jaime speaks very highly of Make-a-Wish and the family attends as many of the Vermont events as possible. Make-a-Wish operates on donations, charity, and fundraisers.
“They were so wonderful when Emerson went on the trip,” said Pat. “They took care of every detail.”
Jim Davis, CEO of Make-a-Wish Vermont, said, “It’s really touching, because it’s a family that reached out to the corporation and the community,” The organization raises about $700,000 to $800,000 in the state every year. This year it is looking to raise a million dollars, he said
The reason everyone who is involved with Make-a-Wish is a no brainer. Davis said families of sick children focus on getting their child better and nothing else. Make-a-Wish tries to give them time to focus on what it means to be a child. It also gives hope and some strength to the family.
“It gives them something to hope for in the future,” said Davis.
The donation is a way for the store to give back to the community, said Chris Ballerini from the Cumberland Farms Corporation in Framingham Mass.