Group Trip 2014
Earlier in May our annual Group Trip jetted off to Florida with 13 children and their familes. The children and young people that go on the group trip come from all over the country and are living with a range of different medical conditions but they all have one thing in common - a dream to meet their favourite characters from Disney and film.
All the families who choose to go on the group trip have their own reasons for doing so. It might be that they’ve never flown with their child before and want the reassurance of having experienced help travelling with them, their child has a lot of equipment and care needs which they can’t manage on their own, or the family want a care-free holiday with someone else taking care of all the arrangements. Either way the group trip meets a lot of needs and gives the families the opportunity to relax and enjoy the dream experience.
Wendy is one of our dream coordinators and is now in her 12th year working for the charity. She has organised 21 group trips in that time and describes her latest experience:
"Everyone in the group had a great time in Orlando. The weather was unseasonably warm, the temperatures were in the low 90s which came as a bit of a shock but was most welcome.
The group always stay at the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando. A 3* hotel on International Drive located in a lovely area with good local amenities and perfect for the families needs. Everyone loved the 3 outdoor swimming pools and could be found there on the rest days as well as in the evenings after returning from the theme parks. There is a pool hoist for people who can’t access the pool by themselves. The disabled children loved it because it meant they could get in the pool safely and join in the fun with the other children. They were beaming.
We spent 10 days in Orlando and visited 5 theme parks; SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. In addition to this there were two rest days and a half day excursion to a shopping mall where some of the families stayed on to do some extra shopping!"
"Everyone’s favourite theme parks were Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure because they are so relaxed, and the staff so kind and helpful. Some of the families were also invited behind the scenes to meet some of the characters which made them feel very special. The Dr Seuss characters were especially fun.
Fortunately the whole group remained well whilst we were in Orlando and all arrived home safely. It was another successful trip borne out by the lovely thank you cards we received."
The parent's of Callum and Lewis, who were premature twins and have very complex medical needs paid a particularly special tribute to Wendy and the Dreams Come True team that ran the trip.
"You have been brilliant, always making sure we are ok, checking up on us on days off, trying to sort things that have come up even if it is a tiny thing. You are an inspiration and always go the extra mile. You’re so caring, compassionate and have done more for us than I could ever ask. It really was a dream come true for my family."
The impact of the experience goes beyond just the trip itself. 3 year old Daisy had a bone marrow transplant in 2013 to treat leukaemia and this is what her mum had to say.
"Daisy had the time of her life. It was so lovely to see her playing with the other children and getting used to being around people again. I've noticed a difference in her since we have come back. She is more confident and before, when I used to pick her up from nursery, she would always be playing by herself. This week she has been with the other children. It just melts my heart seeing this. It feels as though this is another big step back to...well being normal I suppose."
Author: James Gunn
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