Life-Changing Dreams

At Sunshine, we encourage children and youth living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to dream big. 
And by making their dream come true, we can help them see a brighter, more hopeful future. 
(Elephants sometimes included.)
Sunshine Foundation
Sunshine Dream Programs are once-in-a-lifetime experiences for kids and youth that ignite a sense of newfound independence, build confidence, and create joyful memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. By having their dreams come true, kids are inspired to keep dreaming, are willing to try new things, and have a more positive outlook on life.

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 can include (and often do) family members joining in a once-in-a-lifetime customized dream.  


Emma's Harry Potter Dream

Emma's Magical 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 DreamLift London 2018

The Impact of a DreamLift DreamLifts Since 1987

Refer a Child

Please contact our Dream Team for additional information about Sunshine Dream Programs: 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 distrophy, 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. 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 Dreams are presented to children and their families by dedicated volunteers residing in that area. The local Dream Fulfillment volunteer works directly with the family to arrange the dream presentation and make it special in accordance with the family’s desires. Volunteers may invite people in the community who have a connection to the dream, such as the professional who referred the child and/or a Sunshine sponsor. The local media may also be invited if the family agrees. The volunteer ensures the details of the dream are clear to the family. In the case of a dream gift, it means ensuring that the gift is in working order and the family has the operating manuals. In the case of a trip, it means that they understand the details of their upcoming vacation.

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.

Dream trips, and some dream gifts, require a great deal of planning to make sure we take care of all the details. We want the child and their family to be able to enjoy the dream as much as possible without having the dream unduly complicated by the child’s medical situation. Careful coordination with Sunshine’s home office and the family helps ensure all the preparations are made to meet the family’s expectations and the child’s 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] 1-800-461-7935, ext. 234.

To receive a Sunshine Dream, a child must:

- Have a severe physical disability or a life-threatening illness
- Be between the age of seven 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