Sunshine Foundation Brightens the Lives of Children Living with Disabilities

Another article I did for the Westman Journal. This story is quite touching. I think I would have liked to meet Shane.
    In 2004, the Sunshine Foundation sent Shane Dickson, his best friend and his family on a whale watching trip off the B.C. coast. Shane was born with Cerebral Palsy, “He was unable to communicate, her was in a wheelchair, and he was tube fed,” explains his mother, Lynda Dobbin-Turner, “But he was amazing! He had the greatest spirit, most engaging laugh and could captivate hearts with his happy nature.”  Whenever Shane saw pictures of whales and dolphins he, “would almost jump out of his chair.” The idea of seeing whales up close fascinated Shane. “We asked if he’d like to do that someday,” says Lynda, “and he provided us with the high pitched hoot, smile and laugh that told us ‘yes’.”.

The Sunshine Foundation brightens the lives of Canadian children with life-threatening illnesses or severe physical disabilities by making their dreams come true. The Sunshine foundation began 25 years ago when a London Ontario police officer lost his son to muscular dystrophy- in the years since then, the Sunshine foundation has formed volunteer chapters all across the country and has fulfilled wishes and made dreams come true for sick or disabled children and their families.

“It was an adventure that gave [us] all memories that will last a lifetime,” says Shane’s mom. Sadly, only five short years after Shane and his family enjoyed the trip of a lifetime, Shane Dickson passed away. “Each of us are grateful to Sunshine for that opportunity,” says Lynda, “[They’ll] probably never know how much that meant to us now…moving forward we all want to do what we can to help Sunshine fulfill dreams for other children.”

In honor of their 25th anniversary, the Sunshine Foundation is running a fundraising campaign called Team 25. In this program, individuals or groups can form a team- set a fundraising goal and use social media to raise money for the Sunshine Foundation. Shane’s mother has formed a team in honor of her son called the ShaneShiners. The goal for the ShaneShiners is to raise $2,500 by the end of November.

At McGregor Elementary school, students involved in the Social Justice Club have pledged their support for the ShaneShiners Team.  Kyle McKinstry is one of the mentors for the Social Justice Club. He was a teacher when Shane attended McGregor Elementary and saw first hand how the Sunshine Foundation trip influenced Shane and his family. “Shane made a big impact on the teachers and students in our school…We are happy any time our group can partner with an amazing foundation like the Sunshine Foundation. We want to pay it forward. Shane was able to experience [a dream-come-true] and we want to share that with someone else as well.” McKinstry goes on to say that, “the [justice club kids] are always looking for positive ways to make a difference. The kids figured [the ShaneShiners] was a great opportunity to give a child who is not as fortunate as they are the chance to have an amazing life experience.”

The cost of a Sunshine Foundation dream-come-true may be measured in dollars and cents but the experience truly is priceless. For kids like Shane Dickson and his family that whale watching trip meant the world.
For more information about the Sunshine Foundation visit

To make a donation to the ShaneShiners 25 Team Click here

Click here to watch Lynda’s video about Shane and his wonderful trip.



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