The Wow Factor
Thai's independence leads him on amazing Sunshine DreamLift Toronto and Individual Dream experiences.
The Wow Factor
Thai’s mom is proud of her son as she describes how independent he is. “It’s not often that he asks us for help,” says his mom, Tara. “I let him do his own thing and he asks when he wants some help. He puts himself out there. People get amazed at the ability he has and the things he’s able to do.
Eight-year-old Thai is a typical, cheerful kid who loves any sport that involves a ball. In his words, his favourite thing to do is “play X-Box all the time,” and his favourite Disney character is Goofy, “because he’s funny.”
Thai was born with tetralogy of fallot – a heart condition which requires open heart surgery. The complications associated with the required surgery resulted in his paraplegia when he was eight months old. Thai uses a manual wheelchair which he’s able to operate himself. His first Sunshine experience was on the Toronto DreamLift in June 2013. “He was telling everyone he was going to Disney and he was going to be on a plane,” says Tara. “It was his first time on a plane. It was an accomplishment that he got to do that on his own.”
After the Toronto DreamLift, a Sunshine Program Coordinator spoke with Tara to let her know that Thai was also eligible for an Individual Dream. Since Thai wanted to go on a Disney Cruise with his family and have a dolphin encounter, Sunshine made all the arrangements for Thai’s family, including his sister Taylor and twin brother, Tre.
“He loved the food, went on the waterslide and loved the beaches,” says Tara. “They opened the water slide so we could ride it early before everyone else. He was always saying, ‘Mommy, I want to go by myself.’ We had a dolphin encounter on the cruise. He got to hug it and kiss it and pat its belly. Thai did everything.”
Tara explains one of the biggest realizations she had on the trip. “While some people think that kids with special needs need all this attention, it was nice to see him treated like everyone else.