The Impact of a Shine Experience on Mental Health

Many of the young people across Canada who are impacted by Shine's programs live with multiple diagnoses, some of which may fall under the umbrella of mental health. Anxiety and depression are common amongst Shine Dreamers. Dealing with the realities of living with a severe physical disability while transitioning through childhood and adolescence can be overwhelming at times, for both a young person and their family.

A Shine program is not just a fun experience or gift; it is a much needed opportunity to provide youth with positive experiences and happy memories that they can use as part of their toolbox for developing into healthy and happy adults. The two Shine programs focus on igniting a newfound sense of freedom, independence, courage, and hope. It is this focus that is at the core of what we do, our reward being the trust that Shine Dreamers and their families put in us to make these impactful experiences come to life.  

Ten-year-old Genevieve from Prince George, BC, who lives with juvenile arthritis and a vision condition, wasn’t sure that she would be able to handle being on the Shine DreamLift from Kelowna to Disneyland in 2015. Her severe anxiety caused her to be apprehensive of the idea of being on a plane filled with people she didn’t know, away from her parents and outside of her comfort zone.

Being approved to participate in the program had an immediate impact on Genevieve, replacing some of her anxiety with excitement. Her Mom and Dad cried when they saw her reaction to receiving her approval letter. “We just can’t express what it means to have our kid’s face light up for something – it shouldn’t be so rare!”

On DreamLift day, Genevieve packed enough confidence to share with her new friends. When she got home, she couldn’t stop talking about her day at Disney and how it grew her self-confidence and the belief in her ability to do anything, sharing, “I faced my fears and had fun. And I’m going to have to do that all the time!”

Shine is abundantly proud and extremely grateful to be able to provide young people like Genevieve with these life-changing experiences.

“The medical community saved my life, my Shine Dream coming true saved my soul.” – Sarah Lashbrook, Shine Alumnae

You can help make more dreams come true for young people across Canada.

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