If you crave adventure, love the outdoors and welcome a challenge then this is the experience for you! Thank you for taking the first step toward this new and exciting adventure. Through the Trailblaze Challenge, you will challenge yourself, meet new people and make a difference in the lives of local children battling critical illnesses.

Designed as an endurance event, the Trailblaze Challenge gives participants the opportunity to hike a 21-mile journey along the terrain of the Manistee River and North Country Trails, all in one amazing day while raising much needed funds to grant the wishes of Michigan children! This is a hike, not a race and caters to all levels from novice to advanced outdoor enthusiasts.

Located in northern Michigan, the Manistee River and North Country Trail loop is roughly 21 miles long. With a diverse landscape, ranging from pine and deciduous trees, to ponds with beautiful views to quiet, lush forests, and several spring-fed waterfalls and tributary creeks, the Manistee River and North Country Trail is a breathtaking natural wonder. Wildlife sightings can be common, and hikers will love the challenge of this beautiful trail.

  • Specialized training program including a workout calendar and bi-weekly group hikes
  • Training Clinics: Hiking boots, socks and other trail essentials, hydration and nutrition and cross training
  • Support and coaching from experienced Trailblaze Alumni, Hike Leaders and Make-A-Wish Michiganstaff
  • Hotel Accommodations on hike weekend at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Manistee, MI (3-days/2-nights)
  • Trailblaze Challenge shirt for hike weekend
  • Transportation to and from the trail on Hike Day
  • Transportation to and from Trailhead (optional)
  • Friday night Pasta Party to carb load before the big day
  • Trail support at multiple locations throughout your journey, including hydration, snacks, first aid and encouragement
  • Saturday evening post-hike celebration to share trail stories
  • Sunday post-hike Recognition Breakfast before heading home 


Each trailblazer will be asked to raise a minimum amount of funds to cover their expenses and to help Make-A-Wish continue its mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. A $100 personal donation is requested at the time of registration and will be credited toward your fundraising goal.

Make-A-Wish Michigan will support hike participants each step of the way by providing each participant with a personalized fundraising webpage, as well as sponsorship and fundraising materials, tips and advice. Each Trailblazer will be provided with a specialized training program and will be invited to attend bi-weekly group training sessions and informal meet-ups.

Make-A-Wish® Michigan grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 62 chapters in the United States and its territories and 27 international affiliates on five continents. Make-A-Wish® Michigan serves all 83 counties in Michigan. The organization has granted more than 9,000 wishes since its inception in 1984.

In fiscal year 2018, Make-A-Wish Michigan will grant the wishes of more than 450 Michigan children; however, there are an additional 600+ children within our community currently anticipating for their wishes to be granted. At an average value of $10,000 per wish, we need help to make each one a reality.

A wish come true empowers children to fight harder against their illnesses. When they are granted a wish, they get more than just a great experience for a day, two days or a week. That experience improves the quality of life for them and their entire family. For their medical team, the experience works in concert with medicine to make their patients feel better, emotionally and physically.

  • A combined 89 percent of nurses, doctors, social workers and child life specialists surveyed say they believe that the wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health.
  • 74 percent of wish parents observed that the wish experience marked a turning point in their own children’s response to treatment.
  • 99 percent of parents and reported that the wish experience gave their children increased feelings of happiness.
  • 96 percent of parents said the wish experience strengthened their families.
  • 85 percent of parents observed a decrease in their children’s anxieties or fears.
  • 91 percent of parents and 75 percent of health professionals observed that the wish experience decreased their children’s depression or sadness.
  • 97 percent of wish families and 96 percent of health professionals observe increases in wish kids’ emotional health.


Is my information secure?
Yes. We use industry-standard SSL encryption techniques to make sure that your credit card information, passwords, and personal information travel securely over the Internet. There is an encryption engine on our database server so that your data is securely stored.

How is credit card information handled?
Credit card information is not stored in our database. During the donation process, we send donor credit card information to an online processing terminal using a secure connection. The information passed back is an approval or denial of the credit card donation.

How do I register for the the event online?
Click on the register button and complete the form. You will be guided through the registration process. Once your transaction is complete, you will receive a confirmation email receipt.

I forgot my Username and Password. How can I find out what they are?
Remember that your username and password are case sensitive. Click here to find your password. You will receive separate emails with your username and password.

How can I see who has donated to me?
Go to the Login section on the site. Enter the Username and Password that you used when you registered for the event. In your Participant Center, click on "View Progress". You will see Donor Name and dollar amounts in the Donation History section.

How can I view my team's activity?
Log in to the site using your username and password, and then click on the ‘My Team’ tab. This will allow you to view your team roster and the amounts raised by each team member.

What do I do with check or cash donations that I receive?
Turn your check or cash donations in to your local event coordinator at your local chapter office. They will add it into the system and count it towards your fundraising goal. Make sure to print out the Mail In donation form and include it with your cash or check donations.

All of my donors are not showing up on the scroll mechanism. Why?
As your supporters donate to you or your team, they have the option to make their name visible or anonymous in the scroll. Please contact eehlers@michigan.wish.org with questions.

How does Make-A-Wish® utilize the contributions?
To get more information on how Make-A-Wish® uses contributions, please visit our website at http://michigan.wish.org.

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