Guelph Storm Helps Surprise Local Boy with Sunshine Dream Come True
January 17th's OHL game between the Guelph Storm and the Niagara Ice Dogs kicked off with a big surprise for 10-year-old Hayden Veale from Guelph, ON, a local boy living with cerebral palsy. Hayden and his family were invited to be on the ice for the official puck drop where he was joined by his favourite Guelph Storm hockey player - #10 Austin Hall - who presented him with a signed jersey. What Hayden didn't know was that Sunshine Bear and volunteers from The Sunshine Foundation of Canada were also there, ready to surprise him on the ice with his Sunshine Dream come true to travel with his family on a magical Disney Cruise. Hayden had been hoping for this special dream to come true, looking for Sunshine Bear at home and at school and eagerly anticipating the moment he would "jump out" and have his dream turned into reality.
As huge hockey fans and Guelph Storm season ticket holders, Hayden and his family are well known at the Sleeman Centre, the home of the Guelph Storm. The combination of the announcer's voice and Sunshine Bear appearing by his side, let Hayden know that it was happening; his most cherished dream to “sleep on a big ship”, meet Captain Mickey Mouse, and cruise the open waters was coming true. The crowd thundered down their support and cheers for Hayden on what was surely one of the best nights of his life. The family posed for pictures as the crowd cheered and stayed on the ice proudly while the national anthem played. Off the ice, Sunshine Bear and Hayden shared some hugs and the Veale family received some special gifts from Sunshine.
Hayden and his family have been through a lot. Having two young boys, one living with a severe physical disability, can have its challenges. But Hayden’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer, creating an even greater need for some special time away together while they are all able to travel and enjoy this dream experience.
As a child living with cerebral palsy, making positive memories and realizing your dreams is really important for healthy development. Having a dream come true inspires hope, optimism, and confidence in the realization that anything is possible. Hayden’s dream come true will not only give him a chance to experience exciting new things, it will also give his family a much needed opportunity to create memories of happy times together that they can cherish and hold on to forever.
Sunshine would like to thank the Guelph Storm and their amazing support team as well as Austin Hall (pictured left) for making Hayden's surprise dream presentation so amazing. And to the Veale family, we hope your Disney Cruise is an amazing and heart warming dream come true.