Sunshine Foundation

Harry Potter World Casts Spell on Young Dreamer

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thirteen-year-old Emma always believed that one day she would visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Last year, her dream came true when Sunshine arranged for Emma and her parents to walk in Harry’s footsteps to create magical memories of their own.

Emma, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, lives with cerebral palsy. She attends therapy three times a week at school and requires a leg brace and foot orthotics to walk. Emma has already faced many challenges and obstacles in her life.

But, just like Harry Potter, she never gives up.

Three years ago, Emma started saving coins so she could make her own dream of visiting the Wizarding World come true. She had watched many videos about the Orlando, Florida theme park and how to make her own wands. Determined to visit the park herself one day, Emma had saved $70 in her “Harry Potter Fund” jar when her parents reached out to ask Sunshine for help to make Emma’s dream a reality.

When Sunshine staff phoned to tell Emma she would be heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ with her parents, she was thrilled.

“I cried,” she says. “I felt like Harry when he was told he could go to Hogwarts School!”

Soon after that call, Emma received her Sunshine dream package, complete with a customized Harry Potter Sunshine Teddy Bear and a wand. “The box came personally addressed to Emma. It was pretty amazing,” says Cathie, Emma’s mom.

The trip was an experience Emma’s family will remember forever. The days were filled with train rides to Hogwarts Wizarding School, a ride on The Flight of the Hippogriff, a visit to Gringotts Bank, candy shopping at Honeyduke’s and exploring gift shops in Diagon Alley, where Emma found her own Gryffindor robe, scarf, backpack and pins – all of which she still wears whenever she can.

“It was inspiring and jaw-dropping,” says Cathie. “Every little detail was planned for us. We didn’t have to worry about anything. It’s not the kind of a trip that I could have planned for her. There are no words to describe it.”

One of the best parts of the trip for Emma was visiting the Ollivander’s wand shop, where young wizards go in search of their wands. Emma knew long before they arrived whose wand she wanted – Ginny Weasley’s wand, her favourite character from the books.

“Since the trip, Emma is more outgoing and eager to share her stories about her Sunshine dream experience. She has made some Harry Potter friends now,” says Cathie. “She has something important to talk about and something special for her. It has made her more confident. Her face just lights up when she talks about the Harry Potter trip.”

For Emma, the dream experience confirmed what she already knew: that magic is real.

“Anything is possible if you just believe,” she says. 

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