Sunshine Foundation

Le rêve de la créature de la mer de Cooper devient réalité

Lundi 23 octobre 2017

Choosing what he wanted for his Sunshine Dream was easy, says Cooper’s mom. “We had been to a small aquarium and he was so in love with the little sea horses there that he said he wished he could see them closer up and swim with some sea creatures where they live in the ocean! He likes and needs to feel things as opposed to only looking.”

Cooper lives with Stickler Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes serious vision, hearing and joint complications. Cooper is completely blind in his left eye, and is extremely near sighted in his right eye. When thinking about his most cherished dream, the 11-year-old didn’t hesitate for a moment. He dreamed of swimming so close to the sea creatures he loves that he would be able to really see them and touch them…while he still has the chance.

Cooper’s dream presentation was a public celebration at his local WINNERS store in London, ON not far from his hometown of Thedford. The ocean-themed presentation created by the Associates at WINNERS was complete with sea creature decorations and a themed cake. Cooper was so excited to hear his dream would actually come true. He would be traveling with his parents and siblings to Toronto for several days of adventure, featuring a visit to Ripley's Aquarium for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour and swimming with the stingrays. Cooper’s parents decided to keep his dream approval a surprise until the announcement at WINNERS. “The surprise that he was going on his Sunshine dream trip was one of the best days of his life,” his mom shared. The following weekend, the family travelled for their first time ever to Toronto for the aquarium VIP tour and swimming with stingrays , enjoyed VIP experiences at the CN Tower, the Toronto Zoo and Cooper attended his first-ever Toronto Blue Jays game.

“For Cooper, the very best part of the trip was swimming with those stingrays,” says his mom Alison. “His smile while petting the sting rays is something that will stay in my heart forever. It meant the world to us to see him experience things he only dreamed of, knowing that his vision is very fragile and can change in the blink of an eye. He could be blind at some point even in his young life so we want him to have these experiences and memories while his vision is still good. Then he can keep these memory photos for his lifetime.”

After having his sea creature adventure dream come true, Cooper said he was very grateful to have been given this special time with his family, as well as with his favourite sea creatures. “I was so excited to do all the awesome things Sunshine had planned for me,” he says. “They make magic happen!”

“For me”, Cooper’s mom shared, “the best part was just making those memories with the whole family and watching Cooper and his siblings explore and experience new things together, to bond. Being in a large family it’s rare we travel too far, so even the hotel stay was a big treat.”