An eleven-year-old boy living with cerebral palsy got a special birthday gift in Whitby this week.
He was chosen to go on a toy dash at the Toys”R”Us, all thanks to a partnership between the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the North American toy store chain.
“We’re very happy and thankful for this amazing opportunity,” says Sadaf Mahmood, the boy’s mother. She was one of three other family members there to help Zain.
Dashing for toys may sound easy, but what if you only had three minutes to do it? That’s why this family was prepared, making sure they knew what they wanted.
“He likes Disney characters, so we’re going to be targeting those,” says his dad, Khalid Riaz.
Having a plan was important, but not as much as having a fun, the family said. “We just want to have fun, and get as many toys as possible,” his mother said with a smile.
That’s exactly what Zain did — being whizzed through the aisles by his dad, while mom, his uncle and cousin split up to divide and conquer all sections of the store. It was a great experience for Zain, who has been fighting Quadraplegia Cerebral Palsy is entire life.
“He’s walking in a walker, in a chair for most activities,” says Mahmood. “Yes, there are difficulties, but we have come a long way.”
The 11-year-old had a weak immune system when he was younger, but his family says although things can be challenging at times — he is a bright young boy always looking to learn new things.
“He just wants to have fun. He’s at that point where, thank God, he’s healthy. He’s enjoying his life.”
It’s the 35th shopping spree in a Toys”R”Us store across Canada and the first one in Durham region. Trevor Dicaire, Senior VP of development for Starlight says it’s a great chance to brighten children’s lives who live through challenges every day.
“It’s a real chance to bring this once-in-a-life opportunity to these children,” says Dicaire. “It’s a really big difference maker.”
Despite having just 3 minutes to dash through the store, the family brought in a pretty successful haul, coming away with more than 60 toys.
Mahmood says after this shopping spree, they’ll be set for the season.
“This is birthday and Christmas presents all wrapped up into one.”