The Sunshine Foundation’s 15th Annual RunWalkBark 4 Dreams Fundraiser, held Saturday, June 10th, raised approximately $16,500 to help make dreams come true.
Proceeds from this event will support the foundation’s mission of answering dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages three to 18 whose families are unable to fulfill their requests due to the financial strain the child’s illness may cause.
Although a national non-profit organization, the Sunshine Foundation’s national headquarters are located in Feasterville, therefore a local child is sponsored for the event.
This year the foundation sponsored Kathryn Drenth, an 11-year-old child from Warrington with Down syndrome.
Following the event, which included running, walking and even walking a pet in a 5K run or two-mile walk in Tyler State Park, Kathryn discovered that she and her family would be granted a dream vacation to Walt Disney World and the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village.
After Kathryn’s name was announced as this year’s dream winner, she received the royal treatment as Princess Belle presented her with a large box filled with toys from Disney World and other Central Florida theme parks.
Kathryn’s mother, Mariah Drenth-Cormick said, “Having special needs usually comes with many negative connotations, but now Kathryn gets to see that because of her special needs, she has received something positive that enables her to take her whole family to Disney.”
Last year’s dream winner, Errica Ayala, 13, from Bristol also attended this year’s fundraising event. “As the reigning queen, Errica has come to congratulate the new dream winner and to pass out those sunshine rays this year,” said her grandmother, Jeanne McTamney.
Errica, who has epilepsy, was also granted a Disney World dream vacation.
“Errica had never been to Disney before last year, but when she got there, she knew she was in a different environment, and seeing Mickey Mouse along with all the other Disney characters made her face light up.”
Also at this year’s fundraiser was Ciarlo Liples, a 2014 Sunshine Foundation recipient of a Disney World Vacation.
Ciarlo is a 6 ¾-year-old boy from Doylestown who has Spina bifida. Ciarlo’s father, Ken, described how staying at the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village made it possible for Ciarlo to engage in activities he could never have done elsewhere, such as playing miniature golf and swimming in their Olympic size pool.
This entire Dream Village is handicap-equipped and wheelchair accessible.
Although the Sunshine Foundation’s most requested dream is a family trip to the Dream Village and the Orlando attractions, other requests vary from an above ground swimming pool to a shopping spree to a handicap ramp at one’s home.
According to President of Sunshine Foundation, Kate Sample, what makes this organization so unique is that it goes beyond answering the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses.
“We probably receive the most requests from families of autistic children,” said Kate. “We also have income limitations, so we give dreams to children whose parents can’t afford to give them something special like a Disney World vacation.”
If you’d like to make a child’s dream come true, visit www.sunshinefoundation.org. If you have a child who has a dream you can’t afford to grant, visit this same website and click on “request a dream” to see if you qualify.
PHOTO CAP: Errica Ayala and her grandmother, Jeanne McTamney, both of Bristol at the event. Errica was last year’s dream winner.