Twelve-year-old Chadd has a dream that he is determined to make happen… and with Sunshine’s help, the first steps have already come true.
Chadd is a sledge hockey fanatic and idolizes the men’s Team Canada para hockey team. He has been playing the sport for six years, watches all of Team Canada’s games, and cheers them on like no other! Living with hydrocephalus, spina-bifida, and Type 1 diabetes, sledge hockey has been a sport that suits his outgoing personality, need for speed, and abilities.
Last winter, London Ontario hosted Team Canada’s tournament – a location that wasn’t too far out of the way for the family to visit for Chadd’s Sunshine Dream. Chadd met all of the team players, joined the team for practice, and had the honour of carrying the Canadian flag onto the ice during the National anthem before he watched them play against Korea and Team USA. Everyone he met went over and above to make this a total dream come true for him.
“Our guys were incredibly excited. [They] all remember their own paths to becoming national team members, recognize where they came from, and for many of them, they had an interaction with former national team members that inspired them to become sledge players themselves. To be in a position to be able to provide Chadd with a similar inspiration in his journey, these guys were just so excited to be able to do that.” – Marshall Starkman, Manager of Team Canada’s Para Hockey Team. He later added, “He’s a pretty good player. We’ve hold him to shoot for the moon and we’d love to see him again in another 4-5 years putting on the Team Canada jersey and competing to be a member of Team Canada.”
At the end of his dream experience, the team called him into the change room and presented him with a signed jersey – a touching gesture and treasured memento that meant the world to Chadd. His dad hopes that Chadd’s experience with the players reinforces that “it doesn’t matter what you’re given, it’s what you make from it.”
Chadd looks forward to working hard in the coming years to make the ultimate dream come true of joining the team. With confidence, he exclaims “I’d like to say to Coach Babey, I’ll see you in 5 years!”