Sunshine Foundation

History Sites Fuel Shayda’s Passion

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It was a year that felt like the ground underneath her was crumbling. At the age of fifteen, Shayda explained that her mental and physical health was at an all-time low. Her grandfather had recently passed away, she had to abandon her passion for dance and would need a hip replacement, and she was diagnosed with a kidney condition called lupus nephritis. Add in the challenges of being a high school student, and Shayda certainly needed something to inspire her future.

With the help of a physician, Shayda submitted an application to The Sunshine Foundation of Canada. As a young history and literature buff, she was excited to help customize the details of visiting the iconic sites of France and England while recovering from her hip replacement and treatment for lupus.

As the details of her dream began to come together, Shayda collaborated with her fellow history friends to get tips and ideas of where she should go. It became a fun topic to focus on and a great way to meet new people and learn new history. Sunshine then worked with her to ensure her itinerary would match her interests, bringing to life the history she only heard stories about. It was no doubt that collaborating on her dream gave her extra motivation to boost her recovery.

By her 18th birthday, Shayda’s itinerary was set and her health was strong enough for travel.  Her adventure began that summer with the first stop in Strasbourg, France. She expressed a desire to visit a concentration camp in order to better connect with the tragedy she had only read about. Her journey then continued to Paris where she explored its iconic landmarks including the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles to see collections that marked significant moments in history.

On her way to England to see the play Les Misérables, visit Harry Potter World and the Imperial War Museum, she stopped in Normandy. It was on this tour that she discovered the power of storytelling as a means to help people connect with history. Her tour guide recounted detailed stories of some of the individuals that fought during D-Day while they walked along Juno Beach, through bunkers, and stopped at various monuments and memorials.

Back home in Canada, Shayda reflects on her dream request: her dream provided her with more than hope to get through a challenging period in her adolescence; it fueled her recovery and helped her build friendships with her peers. The experiences of her dream trip confirmed Shayda’s passion for public history and is helping her excel in her history studies at the University of Ottawa. Thanks to her Sunshine Dream, Shayda continues to write a brighter future story for herself as she works to pursue a career in museums - telling the stories of the public, to the public.
Shayda Eiffel Tower

Shayda's Normandy Scrapbook

Shayda's Paris Scrapbook