In 1995, at the age of 10, Steve was diagnosed with leukemia, which required him to take frequent trips to the hospital in St. John's N.L, almost four hours away from his hometown of Gander. In spite of his positive outlook, these long trips meant more time spent away from his loved ones than he would have liked.
Now 36 years old, Steve remembers thinking of it simply as “something he needed to do in order to get better”.
“Looking back at it all, I would think I wasn’t truly aware of the seriousness of the illness, I just looked at it as something I had to do, so I just did everything I needed to do in order to get better.”
Travelling to and from the hospital on a frequent basis, Steve was interested in finding ways to stay connected with his friends and family during his time away. The idea of a computer for his Sunshine Dream came to him because he knew it would be something he and his family could use to stay in touch and enjoy long-term.
“Not many people had computers back then and the internet was brand new. There were only a handful of people on my street with desktop computers and the internet. I chose a desktop computer because I thought the whole family could use it and the enjoyment from it would last longer than a trip.”
Steve remembers loving everything about his new desktop computer. Whether it was using it to have his friends over to play computer games, doing research for school projects, or browsing the internet, he says it did wonders for his mental health during those challenging years.
“When things are so low and you're going through painful treatments on a daily or weekly basis, it's nice to have something positive in your life.”
Steve’s computer skills increased as the years progressed. Having learned how to create and publish web pages sparked a passion in Steve that eventually inspired him to become the founder of his own internet-based company.
“[My Sunshine Dream] started my interest with computers and how you can connect to people around the world. 25 years later I run my own company based on the internet. Who knows how things would have turned out if I never got that computer as my dream. Life has a funny way of working out!”
When asked why he thinks it’s important for kids like him to have their dreams fulfilled, Steve answered, “I think it is important because it is something positive in an otherwise negative time in the kid's life. Whether it’s a computer or meeting a famous celebrity, it is important for the kids to have something to look forward to. Most of the kids I knew who had wishes were counting the days till they received it, me included.”