Lethbridge boy with Williams syndrome gets free 3-minute toy shopping spree
A 10-year-old Lethbridge boy with Williams syndrome received an opportunity that most children only dream of: a free, three-minute toy shopping spree.
The Lethbridge Toys “R” Us opened its doors earlier than usual on Wednesday morning, giving Roree Deering and his family free rein of the store. The Deering family had three minutes to run around the store with shopping carts, grabbing as many toys as they could.
“He was so excited to come here and just be able to pick any toy he wanted,” said Roree’s dad Randy Deering.
“On the drive here, it was showtime for him. And he was so happy to have the day just be all about him.”
Roree has Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder, and he suffers from several side effects leading to heart, aorta and gut issues. As a result, Roree has spent a lot of time in hospitals going through many check-ups and surgeries.
“For kids like Roree, it’s really important for us as a company to level the playing field for them,” said Melanie Teed-Murch, president of Toys “R” Us Canada.
“Normally their environments are about surgeries or sterile environments or treatments. Today, it’s just about joy. It’s about that moment of elation that kids feel when they see toys.”
While Roree and his family had a game plan going into the spree, things didn’t go accordingly.
“There was a strategy, but it just fell apart,” Randy said.
“It just fell apart in the end. We kind of just… went wild and started grabbing.”
It may not have been their initial strategy, but it still worked out. The Deerings, with a little help from volunteers from Toys “R” Us and Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, managed to fill 11 shopping carts with toys.
Roree’s new toys range from cars to plush dolls of video game characters. His favourite toy, however, is a stuffed llama that sings and dances — two of his favourite activities.
Roree isn’t the only lucky kid this year, as more than 10 seriously ill children across the country have been given the same opportunity by Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada and Toys “R” Us Canada.
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