Sunshine Foundation

A Costa Rican Adventure Towards Change

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Gretta stood in the cold, white emergency room. She tried to focus on the doctor’s words. Her son – her bright, beautiful, 12-year old son, Daniel, had a brain tumour. He needed surgery. Now.
The doctor was still talking.
“He’ll probably be ok.”
Probably?
“A small chance of complications.”
Daniel had the surgery. But it turned out, he wasn’t ok.

“It was terrifying,” says Gretta today. “He lost the use of all his muscles. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, he was on life support for weeks. We didn’t know what would happen.”

Fortunately, Daniel recovered his speech, and much of his mobility but he lost the physical ability to smile. His life – and that of his family – was forever changed. “It was such a tough time for him,” says Gretta. “He was just finishing grade 7, and it was so hard for him to make new friends when he got to high school. He’d been super social before, but now he was completely isolated.”

Two years into a new care routine, Daniel felt that he wanted to do something adventurous. And his family was by his side, encouraging him with the attitude of “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Daniel’s first love had always been nature. Before his surgery he’d dreamed of travelling the world to see exotic animals like monkeys, turtles and colourful birds. He was especially keen to see a real, live rainforest. That dream came true for Daniel in 2018 when he travelled to Costa Rica for the trip of a lifetime.  “We never thought we’d be able to take Daniel someplace so inaccessible,” says dad Rob. “But Sunshine has contacts all over the world. The trip was flat-out amazing.”

Daniel and his family toured the Arenal Volcano, explored a chocolate and coffee plantation, experienced hot springs and didn’t even hesitate when it came to standing on the hanging bridges in the rainforest. His favourite part of the trip was taking a boat ride through the rainforest canals to see iguanas, monkeys, a Cayman, a river turtle and unusual birds. The trip was certainly the adventure he was looking for!

“These experiences help kids like Daniel see the world is still open to them. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,” adds Gretta.

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