Country Girl Dream Story

Meeting the cast of Heartland gives Eryn the opportunity to educate her community about her disability
Sunshine Foundation

Country Girl Dream Story

Sunday, March 1, 2015

“I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” Eryn lives by the quote from surfer, Bethany Hamilton, and refuses to be limited by her condition, left hemiplegia.

“It means that the right side of her brain is affected and she has conditions called spasticity and dystonia. It’s not common that you would have both,” says her mom, Lynette. “Day-to-day she has no fine motor skills in her left side and a lot of people mistakenly ask her if she’s hurt her foot because she limps sometimes. It means anything that Eryn wants to do, she has to jump through an extra hoop to accomplish.”

When Lynette and Eryn began to discuss her Sunshine Dream, one thing came to mind – visiting the set of the CBC show, Heartland. “I chose it because I’ve been watching this show for a few years, and I’ve watched every episode at least once, maybe twice,” Eryn laughs. “The show has horses in it which I am obsessed with.”

Sunshine sent the city girl, with the country heart, to the set of Heartland in Alberta, including a week in Calgary. “It was amazing. We spent the morning watching behind-the-scenes activity and scenes being filmed. They had horses jumping, like a private show. We got to sit with the actors and staff for lunch and got to talk to them. They also let me film the stand-ins while the actors were getting ready.” The last day of their trip was just as special. “We went for a two-hour horseback ride in the Rocky Mountains. It was like rock climbing with horses.”

Since Eryn’s return, she has used her Sunshine Dream as an opportunity to be open about her disability. “Some of my friends are too shy to ask ‘why do you walk like that’ or ‘why don’t you use your left hand,’” says Eryn. “Talking about my dream is helpful for me and for them because they want to ask about my disability.” Lynette puts it this way: “It’s opened a door for her to be able to say, ‘because I have a disability, this is how my dream happened.’”

“It’s okay to have a disability because sometimes it means you get special things and that’s kind of neat,” says Lynette. “We couldn’t be more grateful to be a Sunshine Family.”