On July 10, nine-year-old Charlie-Anne and her family will have three minutes to fill their shopping carts with all the toys they can grab at the Toys”R”Us store in the Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
The early morning event is one of several staged by the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada and the chain of stores to help children “create much-needed positive memories away from the hospital,” a press release stated.
When Charlie-Anne was six months old, she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 and only given a few months to live.
Many years later, after many hospitalizations and close calls, Charlie-Anne loves to play video games, read and explore.
The Vancouver resident is a big fan of My Little Pony.
The Langley event will follow the July 9 dash at the Kamloops Toys”R”Us for nine-year-old Savanna, who was born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy and has been diagnosed with brain damage and autism.
Savanna is a fan of singing, playing musical instruments and watching America’s Next Top Model, and can be expected to hunt for karaoke machine.
The Three-Minute Dash program has been expanded to 10 families this year, with shopping sprees in Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia, Edmonton, Alberta, Pembina, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Dash recipients are randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.
“On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf.
“Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope.”
Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have donated an estimated $19 million to Starlight.
“We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 10 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada.
This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including 85 Hospital Grants to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children, 10,500 ER Admit Kits with a variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays, 7,000 Baby and Toddler Fun Kits with cuddly toys and games and a “baby resources for hospitals” program supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centres along with special infant seats to 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.