Holidays well deserved
Boys facing physical challenges flying to Disney World
Dealing with physical ailments that require frequent surgeries is something Brendon Thorne and Matthew Bradbury both know plenty about. This week, they will also know what it’s like to visit one of the top destinations for children.
Through the Sunshine Foundation, an organization dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of children challenged by physical disabilities, the two boys and their families are scheduled to travel this week to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The two boys were the centre of attention for classmates at both their schools on Jan. 26, as a pair of special presentations were held to recognize their impending vacations. Representatives of retail chain Winners, a partner with the Sunshine Foundation, were also on hand.
“ It’s really, really exciting,” said Brendon, an 11-year-old Grade 5 student at Woodland Elementary in Dildo, who lives in Blaketown. “A lot of my friends were going there and telling me how much fun it was, and that’s why I chose to go there.”
Thorne has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic bone fragility disorder that has left him with many bone fractures over the years. Issues with Thorne’s bones were first noticed at the age of 18 months, and it was not until the age of five that he was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. He makes use of a wheelchair to attend school and visits the Janeway in St. John’s once a week for physiotherapy.
Bradbury, an eight-year-old attending Whitbourne Elementary, has Sponydephiseal Dyplasia, which causes severe joint and back pain for the boy.
“ This is the best day of my life,” said Bradbury.
Brendon Thorne’s mother Renata Thorne said the attention her son is receiving with the free trip to Florida, which will also include both his parents and brother Nicholas, is unreal.
“ It is a dream come true for all of us,” she says.
Renata heard about the Sunshine Foundation through another family with a child at the Janeway. An application was filled out, and within two weeks the family heard back from the foundation.
“ It was amazing how quickly everything came together. Grateful is not even the word. I’m so pleased about everything the Sunshine Foundation has done.” She is also a proud mother. “ It’s unbelievable how good he has been. I guess he was so young when everything started. It’s not normal, no, but he doesn’t know any other life. He doesn’t know about physical activity and getting up and playing like normal children, because he‘s never been able to do that. I guess what you don’t know, you don’t miss.”
Brendon is fortunate in a sense, as his mother notes that Osteogenesis Imperfecta can improve as he gets older, and with treatment his bones can become stronger and thicker, making for fewer fractures down the road.
As for his upcoming trip, Brendon said he’s especially looking for- ward to riding the Mount Everest roller-coaster.
At school, Brendon enjoys taking part in music clubs and attending gym class. Though his disorder may not allow him to participate in gym the same way other students can, Thorne maintains a positive outlook.
“ I know there are some kids who are worse off than me, so I just think about that. Maybe a little while later, I won’t have it too bad.”
Woodland Elementary principal Lorraine Harnum said students at the school often hear about role models. She thinks Brendon is a very brave boy.
“ We are extremely proud of Brendon, and we are so fortunate to have him here.”