North Okanagan youth are preparing for a visit with Mickey Mouse during the Sunshine Dreamlift flight to Disneyland Tuesday.

North Okanagan youth are preparing for a visit with Mickey Mouse during the Sunshine Dreamlift flight to Disneyland Tuesday.

Dreams come true for kids

It’s an adventure some North Okanagan youth will never forget.

It’s an adventure some North Okanagan youth will never forget.

Taking part in Tuesday’s Sunshine Dreamlift flight to Disneyland will be one child from Armstrong, two from Enderby, one from Lumby and four from Vernon. They all experience severe physical disabilities or face life-threatening illnesses.

“It’s a very emotional experience,” said Akbal Mund, a partner with the local Wendy’s, which raises funds to ensure the one-day trips can occur.

“They (youth) are experiencing time on their own, away from their parents and that’s something we take for granted.”

It’s also an opportunity for them to forget about their illnesses.

A total of 64 children from throughout the Interior will take part in Tuesday’s flight which is organized by the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

“Some have never been able to travel due to their daily treatments, special feeding requirements or the physical challenges involved in their day-to-day care,” said Chris McInnis, Sunshine Foundation’s media and communications co-ordinator, in a release.

“Volunteer buddies from the health care community will make sure the children will be well-cared-for.”

The Anaheim-bound flight will leave Kelowna International Airport at 7 a.m. Tuesday and return  at about midnight the same day.

While at the Magic Kingdom, the youth will be escorted by volunteers from the Orange County Sheriff Department.

The goal is to meet as many Disney characters and go on as many rides as possible before heading home.

“Watching the kids have that much fun is overwhelming,” said Mund, who will be in Disneyland Tuesday.

The flight is made possible by funds raised during Wendy’s Dreamlift Day festivities at all Wendy’s restaurants in the Okanagan, as well as Kamloops and Salmon Arm.

This January’s fundraiser generated $109,382, and Mund believes residents have rallied behind the cause because of the special children that will benefit from the flight.

“Everybody recognizes the importance of sending kids from our community to Disneyland,” he said.