Welcoming the New Year's babies of Atlantic Canada
“A new baby is like the beginning of all things wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities,” American parenting educator and author Eda LeShan once wrote.
Children's Wish Foundation provides Chloe Allen with her dream trip to Disney World
Chloe Allen posed with her little brother Ethan, Capt. Mickey Mouse and her father Darren aboard the Disney Dream. Chloe was granted a wish by the Children's Wish Foundation and got a trip to Disney World and a cruise.
Cinderella said it best.
"A dream is a wish your heart makes," and 13-year-old Chloe Allen made a wish and her dream came true.
Chloe was born with a heart condition where one side of her heart is smaller than the other. She's had several procedures and is as healthy as she can be now.
Because of her condition, Chloe qualified for a wish from the Children's Wish Foundation.
Just before Christmas, Chloe, her father Darren and her brother Ethan went to Florida.
The family spent four days at Walt Disney World and another four days on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
It was the end of a 14-month wait for the trip.
Darren Allen said paperwork created most of the delays.
Allen is a single parent and has full custody of his children. He said there were a lot of forms to fill out before he could take Chloe and Ethan across the border.
"Eventually it paid off," he said.
The experience included a half-day at each of Walt Disney World's four theme parks as well as a stay in one of the resorts.
Allen said Chloe's condition means she doesn't have the energy of most children her age and she would be worn out after a half a day.
Chloe also can't go on any thrill rides, which helped the family avoid some of the longer lines.
There were also opportunities to meet various Disney characters, including Chloe's favourites – Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
Allen said Disney World was nice but the cruise blew them away.
"It's easier to meet the characters, it's a lot smaller, and they look after the kids like you wouldn't believe," he said.
Allen said the cruise gave the parents of the Wish Kids a chance to relax.
At Disney World, he said there's a lot of waiting in line and keeping a hold on the children.
"I couldn't relax," Allen said. "On the boat, you sit back."
The cruise went down to the Caribbean and Disney's private island, Castaway Key.
Allen said he was surprised to find out Children's Wish extended beyond Canada, but a group of children and their families had a chance to meet and spend a little time together during the trip.
"We talked to a few," he said, although he added most of the families got the greetings out of the way before heading out to see the parks.
Allen praised the organization and said they treated the children and their families like royalty.
The Allens were travelling home the week before Christmas and were stranded in Halifax during a storm. Darren said he contacted the foundation and told them about the situation.
"Two hours later, we had a room, we stayed at the Hilton," he said.
"It was top of the line all the way," he said. "If we were stuck for anything, pick up the phone, call and they looked after everything."
Chloe, who her father said is quite shy, smiled when asked about the trip and said that it was "good."
And just like Cinderella, the dream that she wished came true.