BILLINGS — Before 17-year-old Sydney Hedges died of brain cancer, she said she wanted to form a nonprofit and help people. Now the Colstrip teenager’s legacy lives on six years after her death with Syd’s Wish, a nonprofit that’s helped nearly 50 families across the region.
Find the good in each day. That’s something Hedges would say, even as a kid diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s been six years and I’m still emotional and crying talking about her cause she was so special to all of us,” said Syd’s Wish board member Kinslee Todd at Pioneer Park on Sunday.
Todd and fellow board member Sydney Craig were there in Colstrip when Hedges was just 11 and started showing symptoms of a stroke.
“They life-flighted her to Billings. Found a tumor, it’s really emotional. It was the first night I ever prayed that she would be okay,” Todd said.
Hedges was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. She went into remission twice before succumbing to the cancer at just 17.
“Her mom Angie found a list of things that she wanted to do in her room. And it ranged from throwing her dad a surprise 50th birthday party and the biggest thing on there was to start a nonprofit to continue to help people,” said Todd.
That’s precisely what Angie Hedges did. She formed Syd’s Wish in 2018 and the nonprofit has helped families with children and young adults facing medical challenges ever since.
“Syd is our guardian angel, huh? We never knew Syd. We never met Syd, but we feel like we know her through everybody at Syd’s Wish,” said Belfry resident Tura Webb, grandmother of Matty Webb.
The Webbs are just one of 47 families Syd’s Wish has supported. Five-year-old Matty Webb was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just three.
“It has been a very rough journey,” said Matty’s mom, Estaleda Webb.
The Webbs live in Belfry and have been commuting between Denver and Billings for hospital visits, but between gas, food, and medical costs, it’s expensive.
“Things got really tight. It was right after we came back from Denver so our bank was pretty much drained,” said Estaleda and Tura.
Tura was surprised when she received a Facebook message from a friend of a friend. It was from Angie Hedges, offering any help Syd’s Wish could give.
“And she got a hold of us, and we had a check just a couple of days later and we were able to pay our bills in advance,” Tura said.
Syd’s Wish sent the Webbs, not one check, but two, ensuring they’d be able to thrive during Matty’s treatments.
It’s one organization finding the good in each day and saving lives along the way.
“He knows Syd’s his angel who watches him from heaven. He knows he’s protected, that she protects him and everything’s going to be okay,” said Tura.
Syd’s Wish just held its annual fundraiser in Colstrip back in April but is always in need of monetary donations to help families across the state.
You can learn more about the organization or donate to their cause here.