Sunshine Foundation

Defying Gravity - Tai's Broadway Musical Dream

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

“Every Mom thinks their kid is talented and amazing.  I know that I feel that way about mine. But it wasn’t until I got to see my son on the Broadway stage, living out his dream, that I knew for sure that he was going to be a star someday.” – Tai’s Mom, Lisa

Like most 12-year-olds, Tai’s mind is always going a mile a minute.  He’s a very active boy who likes to play video games and film his own movies and videos. He has always loved to sing and recently developed an interest in musical theatre.

Unlike most 12-year-olds, Tai has suffered a severe spinal cord injury which has left him confined to a wheelchair.  His life has been filled with doctor’s appointments, procedures and surgeries. Despite these challenges, Tai’s spirit is still larger than life and it shines brightly on everyone who he meets.

Sunshine lets children choose their own dream, giving them a chance to sit in the director’s chair. Tai knew what his Sunshine Dream would be – to travel to New York to see his favourite play, Wicked on Broadway.

Joined by his family, Tai lived out his dream of a whirlwind tour of New York City. “Tai wanted to see everything and we were happy to let him take the lead,” says Tai’s Mom, Lisa. “We visited Times Square and all the ‘hot spots’ and saw three Broadway musicals. It was unbelievable!”

Sunshine arranged for Tai to meet some of the cast of Wicked and have a personal backstage tour. Tai’s moment of fame and the highlight of the entire experience was taking center stage in the Gershwin Theatre to sing “Defying Gravity” – a song from Wicked. “At that moment, he became larger than life,” says Lisa. “His voice projected with so much confidence - it was as if the song was written for him. I have never been so proud.”

Tai was so enchanted with New York that now he’s determined to go back as soon as he can. He has enrolled in an Access Broadway Theatre program and will perform for the first time this December.

Sunshine has shown Tai that dreams do come true and that there is nothing he can’t accomplish if he puts his mind to it. He now knows that he wants to do musical theatre for the rest of his life. “I will always remember that I got to sing on the stage in a real Broadway theatre,” he says. “I know I will be in a real Broadway musical someday and I will remember it was my dream that got me started.”

Lisa shared with us, “We are extremely grateful to Sunshine for making Tai’s dream come true. It was an incredible experience for the whole family and my only hope is that lots of other children are able to have this incredible opportunity to live out their most cherished hope. It really is a life changing experience for the whole family.”

You can help make dreams come true for more kids like Tai across Canada. 

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