Canadian sunshine heads to California

December 1, 2012 by  

Anaheim will need to brace itself for a Canadian invasion on December 11. Specifically, 80 children from all over the lower Mainland will converge on the Vancouver International Airport and then head for sunny California. These children, all of whom are dealing with life-threatening illnesses or profound physical disabilities, are bound for Disneyland thanks to DreamLift – a program sponsored by Canada’s Sunshine Foundation.

Print companies are no doubt kept busy printing flyers for the many fundraising projects that are conducted for the Sunshine Foundation. However DreamLift, which flies children to a special destination every four years, primarily receives its funding through annual golf tournaments at the Meadow Gardens Golf Club. Not surprisingly, Disneyland is the most commonly chosen destination.

In many cases, the children have had limited outings because of both the difficulty of transporting them and the accompanying expenses. In addition to the children, volunteers will serve as ‘buddies’ and a bevy of doctors, physiotherapists, and nurses will make the trip as well. Additionally, the children and their entourage receive escorts for the day from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

It takes two hours to load the plane, due to over 30 of the children being confined to wheelchairs, followed by a three-hour flight and another two hours to disembark before the kids’ six-hour spell at Disneyland even begins. A priority pass allowing them to bypass lines enables the children to make the most of their short stay. Then, the whole processed is reversed for the return trip, making for a near 24 hours that the children will never forget.