Life-Changing Dreams

At Sunshine, we encourage kids to explore their many talents and great potential.  
And by making their dream come true, we can help them feel less isolated, and see a brighter, more hopeful future.
Sunshine Foundation
Sunshine Dream Programs create positive, long-lasting experiences that play an essential role in mental health, personal growth, and wellness. They ignite a sense of newfound independence, build confidence, and inspire kids to try new things.

Sunshine Dreams

A Sunshine Dream is an individual experience, dreamed by a Sunshine dreamer and fulfilled by our dedicated DreamTeam. These experiences are as unique as the kids who dream them and often include family members in the celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime customized dream.  

  

Chadd in foreground on sledge with Team Canada

Chadd's Para Hockey Dream  Read Dream Stories

Sunshine DreamLifts

A Sunshine DreamLift is a day of "Yes!" and a whirlwind adventure that transports a plane full of Sunshine kids and youth to a Disney theme park and back home in just one day! For many children, a DreamLift is more than just fun. It’s a day to experience the excitement and adventure of a first plane ride and a taste of independence away from mom and dad. It’s a day to be a regular kid in a magical setting and make memories that will last a lifetime. Sunshine DreamLifts are on pause until further notice.

Hundreds of Sunshine kids and volunteers in yellow shirts posing for group photo at airport

The Impact of a DreamLift DreamLifts Since 1987

Refer a Child

Please contact our Dream Team for additional information about Sunshine Dream Programs: dreams@sunshine.ca at 1-800-461-7935, ext. 234

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Sunshine defines "severe physical disability" as a severe impairment including all childhood diseases in which a physical disorder is present (examples include, but are not limited to severe cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida). We define "life-threatening illness" as an illness likely to lead to death during childhood or early adult life. Children with primary global delays are not eligible.

To qualify for a Sunshine DreamLift, a child must:
- Be between the age of seven and seventeen
- Have a severe physical disability or a life-threatening illness
- Be able to endure a very long day
- Have the ability to communicate with or without technical assistance
- Live in Canada
- Be of the cognitive age of a seven year old or higher
- Has not previously participated in a Sunshine DreamLift

In addition to fulfilling individual Sunshine Dreams, Sunshine organizes DreamLifts. *Sunshine DreamLifts are on pause until further notice. These one-day whirlwind trips depart from different locations across Canada and take large groups of children to exciting destinations such as Walt Disney World® in Florida or Disneyland Resort® in California. If a Sunshine DreamLift is being planned for your area, you may be able to help us with referrals - and even act as a healthcare volunteer or buddy for the children on DreamLift day. DreamLifts are planned far enough in advance to allow us to give plenty of notice to our referral partners. 

Sunshine works directly with the family to arrange the dream presentation and make it special in accordance with the family’s desires.

Typically, we invite the custodial parents and any school-aged siblings to take part in a dream trip. In extreme circumstances, when the Sunshine child requires constant care, we may invite a caregiver to accompany the family. For trips to very distant destinations, we may limit the number of family members who can participate.

Sunshine Dreams require a great deal of planning to make sure we take care of all the details. We want the child to be able to enjoy the dream as much as possible. Careful coordination between the family and Sunshine helps ensure all the preparations are made to meet the child's expectations and needs. Our team at Sunshine makes sure we take care of all the details so you won't have to worry!

Staff and volunteer medical personnel review the Sunshine Dream application. Review time can vary, as we need time to consult physicians. For typical dream requests, the family will receive a response within about six weeks.

Urgent dreams will receive priority treatment at every stage of processing and dream approval can happen in a matter of hours when necessary. It is crucial that we know which dreams are most medically urgent. Our referral partners can then help us respond quickly to a child and their family.

When Sunshine receives a Referral Form, we review it to determine a child’s eligibility. Once eligibility is confirmed, we send a Sunshine Dream Application to the child’s home.

The Sunshine Dream application requires more detailed information about the child, his or her diagnosis and dream. In addition, the child’s physician must fill in parts of the Application Form. In the majority of cases, this additional detail provides Sunshine with enough information to go forward with the application.

Sunshine receives referrals from the child, healthcare professionals working with the child, the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s), or healthcare-related charities and foundations. Please contact our Program team for additional information about receiving a dream: dreams [at] sunshine.ca 1-800-461-7935, ext. 234.

Sunshine DreamLifts are on pause until further notice.
To receive a Sunshine Dream, a child must:

- Have a severe physical disability or a life-threatening illness
- Be between the age of 7 to 18th birthday and have at least the cognitive ability of a seven-year-old
- Live in Canada
- Be able to formulate his or her dream (this must be the dream of the child) and communicate the dream with or without technical assistance
- Have not already received a dream or wish from a similar organization (however, the child may have participated on a Sunshine DreamLift

In addition, Sunshine reserves the right to refuse any dream request that is considered unsafe for the child, exceeds budget limitations or conflicts with the Foundation’s values. Dreams we are not able to grant include (but are not limited to):

- Trips to dangerous places
- Motor vehicles (including boats and all-terrain vehicles)
- Shopping sprees
- Medical equipment
- Trips to seek medical aid or to attend medical conferences
- Pools or spas
- Home renovations