The Gift of Giving
Every year, Brenda and Bill Dakin give their children one of the most valuable gifts there is: the gift of giving. Since they were two years old, their children, Shelby, age 8, and Samuel, age 4, have collected Sunshine donations in lieu of receiving birthday presents.
“The kids already had enough toys they didn’t need anymore and family and friends were asking what to get them for their birthdays, so we decided what better way to help a great cause that once helped us. Once we started with Shelby’s birthday, it just became a tradition,” says Brenda, Shelby and Samuel’s mother.
Shelby and Samuel’s uncle Bradley received a Sunshine Dream when he was young and went on a Sunshine DreamLift to Disney with his family. Brenda says it’s a memory that has meant so much to her family and continues to serve as a force of hope in their lives to this day.
“It really showed us that anything is possible and that dreams can come true,” she shares.
Initially, Brenda and her husband made the decision for their children to collect Sunshine donations as birthday gifts, but now that Shelby is old enough, she continues to choose Sunshine as her charity of choice. Shelby says that telling her friends about Sunshine at her birthday parties has been a great way to educate them about people living with disabilities, as well as the importance of helping others. She was thrilled two years ago, when she inspired a friend to collect donations for a charity close to her family at her birthday party.
“She was so empowered to think she made such an impact,” shares Brenda.
Shelby turned eight this year and enjoys keeping active and being with her friends. She dances, plays baseball, the ukulele, and loves horseback riding. Samuel turned four this year and is full of energy. He likes soccer, baseball, and helping on the farm. He loves being in the tractor with his papa. One thing the siblings have in common is that they both love spending time with their uncle Bradley, whether it be doing crafts, reading, baking, or doing science experiments. They are with him daily, and not only spend time doing fun activities, but also help with his care.
When asked how she would describe Sunshine to a friend, Shelby said, “Sunshine makes dreams come true and makes people smile”. All these dreams, of course, would not have been possible without the kindness of people like Shelby and Samuel.
We thank the Dakin family, and the rest of our donors, from the bottom of our hearts for all they do to support Sunshine.