Charity helps Kilsby girl enjoy holiday of a lifetime - The Rugby Observer

Charity helps Kilsby girl enjoy holiday of a lifetime

Rugby Editorial 9th Dec, 2019   0

THE HOLIDAY of a lifetime was enjoyed by a Kilsby girl – thanks to a charity which helps disabled and ill children to be more independent and confident.

Ruby Smith, 12, spent 10 days in Orlando, Florida during which she swam with dolphins, visited seven theme parks and made a splash at pool parties.

The Ashlawn School pupil – who has a neurological condition and a form of autism as a result of a brain haemorrhage when she was six months old – was whisked away to the Sunshine State by charity Dreamflight after being nominated for the trip by her consultant at Northampton General Hospital.

Her dream getaway started with a party at the Hilton Hotel at Heathrow, where Ruby and 191 other VICs – Very Important Children – met some famous faces including children’s TV stars Dick and Dom, Hagrid from Harry Potter, and R2D2 from Star Wars.

Ruby (centre) was greeted by some VIPs including Hagrid from Harry Potter.

The following morning they boarded a specially-charted Boeing 747 and set off for Florida, where they experienced the thrills and spills of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, Seaworld, Universal Studios and Discovery Cove – where they had the opportunity to swim with a dolphin.

Ruby said: “Swimming with the dolphin at Discovery Cove was my favourite part. My dolphin was called Akai.

“I also went on the Mako ride, which is the fastest rollercoaster in Orlando – it was really scary!

“I had such a brilliant time on Dreamflight, I didn’t want to come home.”

Ruby has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, left-sided hemiplegia – a form of cerebral palsy – and suffers from separation anxiety.

Her mum Jenni said Ruby was an ‘amazing and inspirational’ kid.

She said: “She faces significant daily challenges that have a huge impact on her life and confidence. Despite being outgoing and gregarious, she struggles to make and maintain friendships and her ASD makes it difficult to understand the reasons for this.

“This coupled with crippling fears of the unknown make day-to-day life quite a challenge. Sadly, Ruby has also recently been the victim of bullying at school.

“Throughout all of these challenges Ruby remains and kind and caring girl whose smile can light up the room. She has a great sense of humour and thinks about the needs of others.

“She is an amazing big sister to six-year-old Ivy – who totally idolises her big sister! Every morning she plasters a smile on her face and goes to school even though she knows she is likely to spend most the day socially isolated.”

Jenni said the Dreamflight trip was a dream come true.

“Ruby’s dad and I would move heaven and earth for her and we push her every day to be the best person she can be, but Dreamflight has given her something that we never could – the chance to explore her independence, the opportunity to spend 10 days with children who have lives just like hers, and the ability to see beyond her limitations.

“All that while having blast nailing seven theme parks in 10 days!”

Ruby met some colourful characters when visiting theme parks in Florida.

Keen to ensure other children can have the same experience as Ruby, Jenni and a group of her friends are now fundraising for Dreamflight by participating in Race to the Stones 2020 – a 100km none-stop walk along Britain’s oldest path, The Ridgeway, ending at the iconic Avebury Stone Circle. Ruby also plans to do a sponsored walk for the charity.

Jenni said: “Nothing can make up for a childhood spent in hospitals, ambulances or on meds that suck the life out of you. but Dreamflight can give these children an opportunity to see that their illness or disability is not the only thing that defines them.”

Dreamflight runs the Florida trip every year at a cost of around £750,000, raised entirely from donations.

Visit to donate to Jenni’s fund-raiser.


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