Early Tuesday morning (Sept. 19), 104 children from Alberta and the Northwest Territories, many of whom have never stepped foot on an airplane, took off on the trip of lifetime.
Departing from Edmonton International Airport, the children from Dreams Take Flight jetted off for a theme park in California, marking the 30th anniversary of the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight.
The flight is the first Edmonton Dreams flight since 2019, and the fourth of eight Dreams Take Flight trips planned across Canada for 2023. Over the past 30 years, Dreams Take Flight and Air Canada, as the exclusive carrier, have given more than 42,000 Canadian children a Dreams flight.
With the support of Air Canada employee volunteers, the Air Canada Foundation and the Dreams Take Flight organization, these trips take children from across the country on a trip-of-a-lifetime and help them create magical memories.
That was the case for Naomi, who took part on the 2011 Dreams flight from Edmonton and would have celebrated her 19th birthday last week.
"Through she was still recovering from the effects of fighting cancer, she threw off all hindrances and partied from before the sun came up until well after the sun set. The stories she came back to us with filled our hearts and the photo book we received in the mail a few months later is still something we cherish to this day," Naomi's mom recalls fondly.
"After 30 years, stories like Naomi's only add to our belief that, one child at a time, we are making a difference," said Kyle Chrystian, president, Dreams Take Flight Edmonton. "It is this knowledge that fuels our dedicated team of volunteers and keeps them devoted to this wonderful endeavour. I am extremely proud of the difference we make to the children of Alberta and the Northwest Territories."
The children participating on a flight are selected through the Dreams Take Flight charity and face mental, physical, emotional or social adversity.
Pilots, flight attendants, maintenance engineers, and numerous other people on the ground and behind the scenes generously donated their time to make the most magical experience for the children.
Each year, 1,700 kids take the trip of a lifetime to a theme park in Florida or California.
Four more flights from across Canada are planned for this year, from Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa. Earlier this spring, Dreams flights from Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax took place.