BILLINGS- The Montana Hope Project handed out its latest gift to a deserving child Thursday evening in Billings.
The group, which aims to make dreams come true for critically ill children, gathered at the Pizza Ranch restaurant in the Heights to present Jaden Smidt, 7 of Billings, with a trip to Disney World in Florida.
His family says he enjoys swimming and playing in the water.
“It just makes the family (feel) all joy that there’s people out there that care for Jaden, as much as we do and are willing to help and afford things like we can’t, “ said Joshua Smidt, Jaden’s uncle. “it’s really helpful.”
The Montana Hope Project is the creation of Montana Highway Patrol troopers, who started the group to help critically ill children in 1984. Since then, they’ve granted 475 wishes.
“My troopers really love to do this,” said Dave Evans, eastern Montana coordinator for the Hope Project. “It’s all wonderful. So the biggest thing for me is the families get a no pressure week, which to them is absolutely amazing.”
The Smidts said they appreciate the support from the troopers.
“I’m looking forward to Jaden having fun and I’m looking forward to him having laughter and joy,” said Kianna Smidt, 9, Jaden’s sister.