After four long years, twelve-year-old Sadé Ashby was reunited with her father last Thursday, April 3 thanks to the Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
Sadé, who underwent a liver transplant at age two after developing a rare tumour, hadn’t seen her father since she was eight. Her father, Adrian, was forced to move back to Barbados in 2010 after complications with his immigration processes.
“Best day ever, I’m so happy and excited I want to jump up and down,” said Sadé after the reunion at the arrivals terminal at the Victoria International Airport.
Diane Wilde, Sadé’s mother, said the day was one they’d been dreaming about for a long time.
“We had been praying for this moment for so long,” said Wilde, choking back tears.
The reunion was made possible by the Help Fill a Dream Foundation which helps children with life-threatening conditions from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands fulfill dreams as well as improve quality of life for the children and their families.
“We were first introduced to Sadé nearly 16 months ago and her story really touched us,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Craig Smith, adding that many dreams consist of trips to Disneyland or Disneyworld.
“Dreams come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s been really neat to help fill this particular dream which was a little different,” said Smith.
Last year, the Foundation filled a record 80 wishes for children, many of them critically ill. Since 1986, the organization has fulfilled over 2,000 dreams.
“It’s an incredible feeling to help these families and it’s very inspirational to have met so many children and families who can teach you so much about the value of life,” Smith said.
Overall, Sadé’s health is good, but she still occasionally suffers from debilitating migraines and asthma and has a weakened immune system. Adrian, who has kept in touch with his family over Skype and email since his departure four years ago, will visit his family for six months and hopes to get any remaining issues with his immigration process figured out while he’s here. He was overwhelmed and overjoyed after being reunited with his family.
“I’m at a loss for words,” he said.