A great-grandmother and avid photographer from Langley is getting to live her dream on March 4, starting in Abbotsford.
Ilona Lelkes, 81, will shoot photos from the sky aboard a Cessna 172 flight from Abbotsford International Airport to Vancouver. She will be under the tutelage of Smart City Media aerial photographer Cormac Clinton.
The wish for Lelkes, a resident of Chartwell Renaissance Retirement Residence in Langley, is made possible by Chartwell and its charity partner, Wish of a Lifetime Canada (WOLC).
Lelkes said she was surprised to find out that her wish was being granted.
“I was on my computer and the whole staff came up behind me with balloons and surprised me with my wish. I bawled,” she said.
Lelkes is a great-grandmother of seven and a volunteer photographer for Vancouver’s Hungarian Cultural Society. She also documents residents and events at Chartwell Renaissance.
Lelkes arrived in Canada six decades ago as a refugee fleeing revolution in Hungary.
Determined to capture and commemorate her new home in all its glory, she picked up her camera, and a lifelong passion was born.
Her subjects and skills grew one click at a time to include botany, landscapes, travel vistas and portraits. Many of her images are posted to her public Facebook page. “When I work on my pictures I don’t see or hear anything else except that photograph,” Lelkes says.
Since 2015, Chartwell and WOLC have fulfilled more than 130 wishes for Canadian seniors.
WOLC says its wish-granting helps to “combat senior isolation and shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by sharing stories to inspire those of all ages.”