Four poorly Scots children’s dreams came true after they were gifted the trip of a lifetime to Lapland UK.
Harris Kitson, 6, Katie Paterson, 8, Annabelle Main, 3, and Kara McInally, 8, have all been fighting their own health battles this year but were able to escape reality and make magical Christmas memories at Santa’s grotto thanks to the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation.
The children and their parents travelled nine hours to Lapland UK in Ascot to meet Santa and his reindeer at the magical festive experience on Thursday. The youngster enjoyed ice skating and exploring the magical forest before telling the jolly old elf what presents they wanted to wake up to on the 25th.
Laura McInally, whose daughter Kara was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2021, said to have the opportunity to make these memories with her daughter after a year of gruelling treatments and operations was priceless.
The 34-year-old, from Motherwell, said: “To be here after what we have been through is amazing. For Kara to have this opportunity is amazing. If we’ve learned anything over the last years it’s how important memories are. Regardless of these childrens diagnoses, they are still kids at the end of the day and deserve to be happy and have fun.”
Little Harris, from Pollock, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in January this year. In a bid to beat his disease, Harris will have to undergo daily chemotherapy for the next three years.
His mum Lisa, 33, told the Daily Record that Harris’ diagnosis came as a complete shock to the family.
She added: “I took Harris to A&E because of heavy bleeding and within five hours they diagnosed him with Leukaemia. We were not prepared at all. He’s had eights months of intense treatment and will now have to take a chemotherapy tablet everyday until 2025.
“Being at Lapland with him after such a tough year is amazing. It was an unforgettable magical experience we can cherish forever.”
Little Annabelle was born with half a heart and has already underwent two major surgeries in her short life.
Mum Christine said doctors discovered Annabelle had hypoplastic left heart syndrome at her 20 week scan. She said the future is very uncertain for the family, so to be at Lapland to mark her third Christmas really was a dream come true.
Christine, from Law, added: “To see the magic and excitement in Annabelle’s eyes as we explored Lapland UK was amazing and unmatched to any other! It’s something we are truly thankful to the Les Hoey dreamaker foundation for making possible!”
“To be able to do this as a family is so special for us. We don’t know what the future holds so making memories is really all we can do. We are so grateful to be here.”
Nine-year-old Katie, from Airdrie, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a brain tumour in her central nerve system in December 2020. After several rounds of chemotherapy and two major surgeries, she has now finished treatment and is currently only receiving maintenance scans.
Mum Elaine, 40, explained: “With this type of cancer they can’t call it remission until scans are clear for five years. We go every three months and just hope and pray it will be good news.
“The last two Christmases have been either spent in hospital or recovering from chemo so it was so nice to see Katie experience genuine joy, happiness and excitement with this amazing group of people. We are so thankful to the charity for inviting us along. Memories to last a lifetime.”
The Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation helps children and their siblings going through gruelling treatments to meet their idols and make magical memories.
Angela Cook, Dream Manager said: “After such a hard few years for everyone, the DreamMaker Team wanted to do something magical to finish our eighth year as a charity.
“Laura our Dream Assistant had a fantastic idea to visit Lapland UK and she has been working on making the trip a magical experience for our wee DreamMakers for the past six months.
“To see the joy on their wee faces and the kids having fun is priceless and makes everything worthwhile.
“We are a small charity and are so grateful to everyone who supports us whether it be donating money, toys, coming to our events or being a volunteer. We wish everyone a happy and healthy festive season.”
If you would like to get in touch with the DreamMaker Foundation you can follow them on social media @DreamMakerles or visit their website www.leshoeymbedreammakerfoundation.org.
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