Paige Orcherton attempts to blow up Toontown during the Sunshine Dreamlift Flight to Disneyland Tuesday.

Pure magic for teen

Paige Orcherton is spirited and strong-willed, so when she was presented with a one-day, whirlwind trip to Disneyland, she didn’t look back.

Paige Orcherton is spirited and strong-willed, so when she was presented with a one-day, whirlwind trip to the Magic Kingdom, she didn’t look back.

The 13-year-old Coldstream youth was among 64 children with severe disabilities or life-threatening illnesses that participated in the Sunshine Dreamlift flight to Disneyland Tuesday.

“I remember the feeling of taking off from the (Kelowna) airport. I knew I was going to California and I had a whole day ahead of me,” said Paige, who is a Grade 9 student at Kalamalka Secondary School.

But as much as Disneyland is fun, the experience was daunting.

It was out of bed early because the plane was leaving the Okanagan at 7 a.m. From there, it would be a few hours to Anaheim, followed by six hours of pure magic. The trip then reversed itself and the tired but enthusiastic crowd returned to Kelowna at midnight.

Paige, though, tackled the challenge head-on, just like she does with the rest of her life.

“I’m capable of doing anything except singing,” says Paige, who has severe hearing loss.

An interpreter and special equipment are required daily during classes. She must also deal with people’s perceptions about her disability.

“Some people are scared to talk to me or they may be judgemental,” she said.

But Disneyland presented her with an opportunity to just be a kid, and to explore all Disneyland had to offer, including Space Mountain.

“You get dizzy in there with the lights,” she said.

“But it’s a good kind of dizzy — fast and fun.”

Stops were also made at the Matterhorn and Space Blasters while there were celebrity sightings with Goofy and Star Wars stormtroopers.

Paige was escorted by a member of the Orange Country Sheriff’s Department who volunteered their time for the day.

“Once we got to know each other, we just went and had fun,” said Paige of her newfound friend.

Disneyland was also an opportunity for Paige to pursue her passion for pennies, picking up some distinct coins for her collection.

“I have over 1,000 pennies,” she said, adding that her considerable hat collection also now features Minnie Mouse ears.

Back at home, mom Robin was left wondering how her daughter’s day was unfolding.

“It was nice, though, to know she was getting some independence,” said Robin.

Sunshine Dreamlift was possible because of funds raised every year by Wendy’s restaurants in the Thompson-Okanagan.

“It was a fabulous opportunity for her. It was a once in a lifetime chance,” said Robin.

Paige has been busy since Tuesday reliving her experiences for friends and family, and looking forward to a return trip to Disneyland one day in the future.

But her feet are planted firmly on the ground in Coldstream — just the way she wants it.

“It was really good to come home,” she said.

 

 

Just Posted

Proposal for 30 affordable housing units in Vernon moves ahead

Vernon city council approved an early stage in the CMHA’s proposal at ther last meeting on Oct. 15

Natalie MacMaster makes Vernon one of two B.C. stops

Queen of the Fiddle in town Oct. 24

Leashes, doggy bags mandatory after North Okanagan bylaw update

RDNO steps up dog bylaws to prevent people from stepping in it

Local grocer to close doors in Vernon

Quality Greens is shutting up shop after 22 years

Vernon patients benefit from new staff and equipment

New physiatrist and much-needed equipment at VJH

Memorial remembers Vernon’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Shooters compete in Summerland

Seven youth participants take aim

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Most Read