Sick Edmonton boy gets 3-minute dream dash through toy store

EDMONTON – On Thursday nine-year-old Gage was treated to a morning most children can only dream of: a dash through Toys”R”Us, collecting as many toys as possible in three minutes.

“When we found out the children were just over the moon with happiness,” said mom Lisa Pedersen.

At 7:30 a.m. Gage and his family were given free reign of the the north side store (near 130th Avenue and 97th Street), excitedly filling over three shopping carts with a plethora of toys.

They collected over $2000 worth of merchandise, including Lego, a Nerf gun, a Nintendo Wii U, Minions and a guitar.

“It was awesome,” Gage’s twin sister Taiga said, adding the Nintendo console was her favourite pick.

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Gage loves toys so much, his favourite movie – Toy Story – is even based upon them.

The family was joined by Captain Starlight, a superhero-like mascot on a Segway, who said his job is to help make the experience as memorable as possible.

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“It’s overwhelming for the children. They come in to the best toy store in the world and it’s all theirs for three minutes. So I’m there to help them, guide them, open the way, make some room, and then help them put some stuff in there.”

WATCH: Reporter Erin Chalmers spoke with the mascot of the charity that put on the event.

Gage has been in and out of the hospital his entire life. He suffers from motor, verbal and developmental complications. He was born with tracheal esophageal fistula (T.E.F.), which resulted in his esophagus not being joined to his stomach.

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Soon after birth, Gage underwent a tracheostomy (an incision in the windpipe made to relieve a breathing obstruction). He suffered a collapsed airway and experienced oxygen loss twice while in hospital, which resulted in him having cerebral palsy-like symptoms.

WATCH: Reporter Erin Chalmers shows off some of the toys Gage collected, and why the event matters so much to his family. 

Thursday’s event, put on by Starlight Canada, allows families to create much needed positive memories away from the hospital.

“Oftentime when children are in these bleak situations they need this, some happiness. They need some laughter to help them cope with what they’re going through,” said Trevor Dicaire, the VP of Development with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.

The charity works with hospitals across Canada to bring joy to the lives of sick kids. Families entered a draw for the toy dash, and Gage was the lucky winner in Edmonton.

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“I thought it was crazy that we got picked out of all those people,” said big sister Sloan Pedersen.

Lately Gage’s condition has been improving and he is able to walk short distances and communicate through a combination of verbal and sign language. On Thursday morning he was able to stand up to grab a drink, but was back in his wheelchair for the dash.

The dash, donated by Toys”R”Us, took place in six cities across Canada: Hamilton, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Starlight Canada said over 17 years, Toys”R”Us has helped raise over $14 million dollars for the charity. The charity says Edmonton is its top location for fundraising.


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