Sunshine Foundation

Zackery Takes His Family on a Sunshine Dream Vacation

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Family vacations can be challenging for parents of children living with severe physical disabilities. A child’s health, endurance to travel long distances, and the weight of traveling with additional equipment are only a few of the worries parents have to take into consideration. Being able to experience new and fun things together is crucial for kids to build connections with their family; however, these worries can be so overwhelming that it often causes families not to travel far from home.

Ten-year-old Zackery lives with cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and is legally blind. His condition requires him to have around-the-clock assistance from his parents and a support worker. Last year, he was able to travel with his family from his home in Calgary to Vancouver Island. Unfortunately he was only able to experience the beach for a short while. That first taste of exploring the beach was enough to blossom into a dream for Zackery where he could one day spend a whole day with his family under the sun with his toes under the warm sand.

Zackery’s Sunshine dream come true allowed him to take his whole family to Hawaii for the adventure of a lifetime. As anticipation grew for his upcoming dream come true, so did the bond with his siblings. A few weeks before the big day, his brother and sister gathered with him to pick out a spot in their home where they would hang the photos of their first family vacation. It was exciting to know they would soon be sharing new family memories.

“We have never taken Zackery on an airplane holiday,” writes Zackery’s mom Stefanie. “The Sunshine Foundation of Canada made it possible for us to have a complete ‘all-family member’ vacation for the first time. This is very significant as it really hurts each and every one of our family members when we have gone on a trip in the past as we would have to leave Zackery behind and say good bye to him. When this has happened, Zackery understood and knew he could not go. This was very difficult on all of us but yet your foundation provided a moment in life for us to be as close to a normal family as we can get and for this we are most grateful.”

Zackery HawaiiOn the beaches of Maui, Zackery’s sense of adventure and exploration and his big smile was contagious. Like many kids, he loved being in the water and splashing around like a frog alongside his family as his barriers to movement were removed. His parents recount how much he thoroughly enjoyed the texture of the sand, using his sense of touch to explore and motivate him to move as much as he could.

Since returning, Stefanie shared, “Zackery has such a sense of adventure and we were all really taken aback at how well he travelled and how much he enjoyed himself.  The pictures say a million words of happiness. You can see how much Zackery is smiling - he did the whole time. Thank you for providing us with the dream of a lifetime for Zackery and for allowing us to have a complete family vacation.”