New Canaanite Hayden Critchell is on a mission to raise $8,500 for the Make-A-Wish foundation. He set this goal because it is the approximate cost of granting one wish to a sick child. He has been actively raising funds since the end of February and will continue to do so through July.

Critchell's involvement with Make-A-Wish began when he was invited to play on a youth lacrosse team. He and 19 other players from Monroe, Stratford, Wakeman (Fairfield), Shelton, Newtown, Norwalk and New Canaan will come together to compete in three summer tournaments that will play for a greater cause. They chose the Make-A-Wish Foundation because of its exceptional reputation and connection to children. The team motto is "For Kids, By Kids."

Hayden said he was inspired by reading the stories of Make-A-Wish children on the website but what impacted him most was meeting Andrew Nitirouth. Nitirouth is a 19-year-old lacrosse player for the Hopkins School who was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. He suffered a stroke due to an allergic reaction to chemo and lost mobility in the right arm and leg. Nitirouth had the love and support of so many friends, family members and even strangers.

"He fought hard and slowly regained his life back. His family was the recipient of a wish and when I met him he talked about what that wish meant to all of his family members," Critchell said. "His story really got to me and I knew I had to do something. I have a chance to do something really good and be part of a team that will get the word out there that these kids are sick and we can do something to help."

"We feel really fortunate to be part of the Make-A-Wish lacrosse team. Lacrosse is more than just a game. We make friendships with families that carry over when we step off the playing field. We play for friends, families, and schools but now the boys will play for a cause that is greater than themselves," Critchell's mom said.

Hayden has raised $4,750 so far. He has written letters, emailed family and friends and gone door to door in the community. The community is asked to help him reach his goal by going to his web page and donating at

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