Renee and Ryan

Renee Walden and her son Ryan Carkhuff. Renee became the Minnesota ambassador for Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation after witnessing the impact the foundation had on her son’s life.

Four children with life-threatening illnesses experienced the hunt of a lifetime last year, thanks in part to the generous contributions of the Jordan community.

The Jordan-based Minnesota chapter of Hunt of a Lifetime, a wish-granting nonprofit that organizes hunting and fishing trips for children with life-threatening illnesses, raised $45,000 at its inaugural banquet in Jordan last February.

The second annual banquet will return to Ridges at Sand Creek on Saturday, Feb. 22, where dozens of firearms, hunting equipment and outdoor apparel will be part of a silent auction and raffle. Renee Walden, the organization’s state ambassador, said it costs about $10,000 to send each child on a trip.

The Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation was started by Tina Pattison in 1998, after finding no wish-granting organizations that would organize a hunting trip for her cancer-stricken son. Pattison took matters into her own hands and organized a moose hunt, funded by citizens of Nordegg, Alaska.

Twenty years later, Hunt of a Lifetime has grown to sponsor more than 1,000 hunts for terminally ill children. The Minnesota chapter, now under the guidance of Jordan resident Renee Walden, typically fulfills three hunting wishes a year.

Walden chose to donate her time and effort to the organization after witnessing the profound effect the hunt had on her son, Ryan, a Shakopee High School student who was diagnosed with cancer at age 15. Walden has been the state ambassador for nearly three years and organized the first annual fundraiser in Jordan last year.

“We’d love to see a great showing out in Jordan again this year,” Walden said. “It helps these kids so much and I’m so blessed to be able to help do this in my son’s memory and name. It’s nice to remind people the purpose of this, it’s totally for the kids.”

Tickets to the banquet are $55 per person or $100 per couple. Tables of eight can be reserved for $400. Five “gold sponsor” tables are available for $1,000 each.

“That’s the only way you can reserve a table,” Walden said. “The gold sponsorship will get you into a raffle where you have a one-in-five chance of winning a gun.”

The banquet will include dinner, a social hour, and auctions and raffles. Featured prizes this year include a gun safe, portable fish house, wildlife prints and a variety of hunting firearms. Walden said the organization is still accepting donations for the auction and raffle.

“We’re looking for anything hunting and fishing related,” Walden said. “Frequent flyer miles are something we’re looking for to transfer — we’re trying to get together an Alaskan fishing trip for the silent auction. Frequent flyer miles can be used for kids going on the hunts too — most of them don’t hunt in their own states. If businesses want to donate any of their gift cards, apparel or gift certificates, that would be great too.”

To purchase tickets or donate, contact Renee Walden at reneewalden@huntofalifetime.org or 612-910-2733. Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 1.

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