So it’s all over for another year! The 25 families, who experienced our Destination Dreams trip to Florida, have flown back from across the pond to their homes, around the UK, just as the Yuletide shenanigans are set to begin.
But even the anticipation and excitement of a visit from the jovial bearded fella, in the expansive red coat, won’t conjure up the strength of emotions felt on the Destination Dreams sojourn.
For the families it had been a once-in-a-lifetime trip that has had a profound effect on each and every one of them.
During their holiday they were welcomed by Super Heroes, visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom and even got to hand-feed dolphins.
Our team of volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of each and every family were met. Their cheerful disposition adding to the magical experience for children and parents alike!
Fidah Hussain, father of 5-year-old Subhan, from Etruria, was overwhelmed by the response of his son on the trip. He said: “He loved it out there; opportunities like this don’t come around very often. This was the first time that the whole family could relax safe in the knowledge that there was a medical team on standby.”
In the past the family have had to cancel planned trips to Dubai and Pakistan on the advice of their doctor.
Subhan, who has the condition TAPVD Repair, a defect in the veins leading from the lungs to the heart, had no doubt about what the highlight of the trip was for him. He said: “My favourite part of the trip was meeting the Toy Story characters. I gave Buzz Lightyear a high-five.”
Lisa Brian, Head of Events and Marketing, said the respite holiday had been a resounding success: “Many of the parents couldn’t believe the change that they saw in their children in just a few days. The sights and sounds that they have experienced have been wonderful. It’s not every day that you get to meet Scooby Doo and Shaggy, and when you do you can’t help but smile.
Unless you’re actually there it’s almost impossible to describe the positive impact that the trip has on the children. Whilst it’s not a cure for the range of conditions that they have it allows them, their parents, and their siblings to experience a level of normality, relax a little, and enjoy life for perhaps the first time in months, if not years.”
And Lisa is adamant that the annual holiday should continue: “It’s vital that parents, local communities and corporate partners continue to fundraise for this trip. It’s so important to the many children who benefit from it, year-in-year out, and raising the necessary funds for Destination Dreams 2014 has to be a priority now.
Without the 24 hour medical assistance these families wouldn’t have the support, or confidence, to travel. This holiday provides a break from the routine of painful treatments and hospital appointments and is, more than likely, going to be the only holiday that many of the families are going to enjoy together.”
Not only that, but by enjoying quality time as a family they develop new skills, giving them the confidence to try other new experiences. They also have the opportunity to build lasting friendships through a network of people with the same experiences.
So as the sun sets on yet another Destination Dreams success we look forward to creating more magical memories, that will last forever, in 2014.
Find out more about Destination Dreams here.