Help Fill a Dream assists two Island teens with Disneyland trips

Help Fill a Dream assists two Island teens with Disneyland trips
Austin Turner is pictured.

Two Vancouver Island teens are getting ready to pack their bags and head to Disneyland, thanks to the support of the Help Fill a Dream organization.

Inside of the Cedar Country Grocer on Thursday morning, a special presentation happened for one of the store’s employees.

Fifteen-year-old Ava Hornby has Type 1 diabetes. Hornby was diagnosed when she was a child, with the journey being a long and winding road.

“It’s definitely 24/7, like it’s on all the time and it’s not something you can take off at times and go to bed and be like, ‘Oh I’ll deal with it in the morning,'” she said. “It really is something where you have to be on it all the time.”

For years it’s been her dream to experience Halloween at Disneyland with her family, and now, with the assistance of the Help Fill a Dream Foundation – an organization dedicated to providing unique experiences to children and youth with life-threatening conditions – that dream is becoming a reality.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to be so supported and be able to share it with so many people,” said Hornby. “It’s just such a fantastic foundation, genuinely.”

Help Fill a Dream executive director Craig Smith says it’s exciting to see kids travelling again after the pandemic.

“We’ve had so many of our dream kids that have had to put their travel plans on hold because of COVID,” he said.

“So now this year, to have a lot of them on the move again, it’s just really exciting.”

The wishes being granted didn’t stop in Cedar. Just hours later in the Duncan Country Grocer, Cowichan Bay’s Austin Turner, who has progressive neurological syndrome, was awarded the same Disneyland opportunity.

“Well, it’s a great thing because [a vacation] hasn’t happened very often, so it’s great for him and the family,” said Turner’s grandfather, Art.

Every part of the trip has been planned, including taking care of the unique transportation needs that Turner requires.

“All of the transportation needs, everything the family needs, is looked after,” said Smith. “The goal at the end is for the family to just have the best trip that they can possibly have.”

It is all part of what Help Fill a Dream does, making memories for families and the deserving dream kids who get to see their greatest wishes come true.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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