Isaiah in the Big Apple
Ever since he went on the Sunshine DreamLift from Ottawa, Isaiah has been thinking about what he wanted for his Sunshine Dream. It wasn’t until he was facing one of the biggest and most life-changing surgeries he had ever undergone, a spinal fusion, that he and his parents decided it was time. “We thought he would want to have something to look forward to during his surgery,” says his mom, Stacey.
Isaiah has spastic quadriplegia, a type of cerebral palsy, which impacts sitting, walking, his gross motor skills and his speech. “While he requires total care, he still does things that everyone else does,” says his mom, Stacey, “Just in a different way.” Isaiah speaks up: “Like play Clash of Clans,” his favourite video game.
He describes choosing his dream to go to New York “like a white room, with ideas exploding all over. Then, you just pick five and put them in a day, every day.” As a technology-loving teen, Isaiah had to visit the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue first. “They were all so cordial,” says Stacey. “They gave him stickers, headphones, t-shirts and lanyards.” Isaiah’s dream didn’t stop there. He toured famous New York landmarks, saw Aladdin on Broadway and attended a live taping of America’s Got Talent, with one of his favourite television personalities, Howie Mandel. Isaiah made the schedule for a week that was centred on him.
Knowing that Isaiah loves superheroes, Sunshine wanted to do something special, and set up a surprise behind-the-scenes look at the new Netflix series, Daredevil, where Isaiah was able to speak with the writers and have dinner with the episode director and lead actor, Charlie Cox.
Isaiah’s dream means multiple things to Isaiah and his mom. “Because Isaiah is so technologically-advanced, I can see that this dream has shown him the possibilities are endless, even though he has a disability.” The experience also kept his mind off his surgery and gave him an exciting story to tell his friends when he returned to school in September.
For Isaiah, the impact is even larger: “It was freedom.”