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Children give verdict on Dreamflight delight

Published 24/10/2016

Harley Richardon, 12, from Wimborne, enjoys a swim with a dolphin
Harley Richardon, 12, from Wimborne, enjoys a swim with a dolphin

The 192 children on the Dreamflight trip were selected from across the UK. Here are the thoughts from some of the youngsters.

:: Esther Castle, 14, Lancaster

"I had bone cancer in my left pelvis so I had lots of chemotherapy and then the surgeons removed part of the bone. I am still doing physio now but I can forget about it here.

"I feel a bit more confident now and actually I am a little bit proud of myself because I have made friends, I've been on every rollercoaster and I've done everything I've been offered.

"I found out about Dreamflight in March when my nurse from Lancaster hospital nominated me. At first I was nervous because I have never been anywhere without my parents for a long time. I was a bit scared.

"But you hear about all the stuff that happens and I felt that I really wanted to go.

"I am a big Harry Potter fan so that was good, and the dolphins were brilliant too - they are so clever and loving, I wanted to take it home with me. I wish I could stay in the water here all day."

:: Lewis Doughty, 13, Northampton

"A letter came through the post saying I was going to Florida and I was just amazed - I just couldn't believe I was going abroad.

"It is not every day that you get to go on a holiday like this, so I knew it was special.

"I have allergic asthma, which means I have to have regular injections and have to take a lot of care around things like dog and cat hair so that it doesn't set me off.

"I was in the Scouts so I was used to spending a few days away from home, but nothing quite like this. It has been an amazing experience and so good that the volunteers give up their time to do it with us.

"Swimming with dolphins was probably the highlight because I don't think I will ever get the chance to do that again.

"I have always thought I'd like to be a GP, and Dreamflight has shown me that I want to do that for sure because I see how much the volunteers here are helping people will all sorts of conditions and I want to give something back and help others."

:: Morgan Maxwell, 13, Perth

"I was at home and I got a letter through the post that said I was coming to Florida and my first thought was that it was one of those dodgy letters that says you've won a cruise.

"The dolphins have been my highlight, it was really relaxing and I felt completely safe in the water. I felt special being chosen to do it.

"My nurse nominated me because of how I cope with my arthritis and Hodgkin's lymphoma. There were some days when I couldn't sit up in bed very well, or go running or open jars.

"But I am getting better, the chemo has actually helped with my arthritis. I never thought I would be able to leave the country, let alone come to America without my family and be swimming with dolphins and going on rollercoasters.

"This has been an amazing, life-changing experience that I have been lucky to go on."

:: Sophie Dobson, 12, Sheffield

"The day I found out about Dreamflight, my grandparents were up and grandpa was holding mum's mobile which he would not normally go anywhere near. I remember them sitting me down and telling me to go to open this letter, so I knew something was up.

"My mum was filming me too, so it was a bit obvious what was happening. But I was so excited I couldn't read it properly. I had to get my twin brother, Harry, to finish reading it for me.

"I had been on a plane a few times, I went to Lapland twice, but I was a little bit nervous about the flying.

"But once I was on board, and we were in the air, it was actually alright. I have enjoyed being here and so much has happened that I have had to get my roommate to remind me every day.

"This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for children like me. It's been brilliant.

"I really like travelling now and I think I might become an air hostess so I can travel more."

:: Evie Shallom, 10, Bracknell

"I was going to go on Dreamflight last year but I had a bone marrow transplant and so I couldn't make it. I was a bit upset but when I got told I was going this year - I was in hospital at the time being treated for cancer - I was just so happy.

"I was most looking forward to swimming with dolphins and that has been the highlight really. It;s not what you would think it would feel like, it is not slippery at all.

"I was a bit nervous about Dreamflight, I was really scared and I was thinking about whether I should go.

"I was worried about being away from my family, because I'm not very good at sleepovers.

"It has been hard but because I know my family want me to have a good time I have been trying to not let it worry me.

"This has been a good holiday because I have gained confidence. I have done things I have never done before."

:: Holly Larkin, 13, Shepton Mallet

"Dreamflight sent me a letter through in the post and I thought it was fraud, I didn't think it would be for me.

"I think I was nominated because of how I deal with my type one diabetes and cystic fibrosis. My conditions mean I get chest infections a lot.

"I have never been to America before but I knew a little bit about it. I was really looking forward to this trip.

"This has been really good because until you meet up with everyone else on Dreamflight you feel like you're alone and no-one else gets what you're going through. But it's not the case - everyone is dealing with something and you just get on with it, together.

"There's no words to describe how good this has been - I really want to thank all the people who have made it possible for us to have this experience."

:: Jacob Isherwood, 11, Barnsley

"I was extremely excited about Dreamflight. For about five minutes straight I was speechless and then I ran upstairs and lay on my bed and thought about what I was going to pack in six months' time.

"My family were really excited for me too but I knew something was going on because I came downstairs and they all had cameras.

"I was nominated for Dreamflight because I go to hospital a lot for a syndrome that affects my kidneys. I get to miss days from school but at the same time I don't really get to do a lot of stuff.

"This trip has been fantastic, I would normally be at home on my Xbox and now I've come out to Florida and have been swimming with dolphins. I'm speechless."

:: Jaize Farid, 14, Preston

"I was amazed when I found out, I only got told a few days before we left England. My mum took the phone call from Dreamflight and then she put me on to the phone - I was just like: 'Yes!'

"I haven't really been on many holidays but this is the best trip ever because it is hot.

"I had been in hospital for a month before I came out here and this has just been perfect. I have made new friends and everyone has been so nice.

"This has given me confidence and made me better at swimming.

"Swimming with dolphins was brilliant and I got to kiss the dolphin too - it was my first ever kiss."

:: Courtney Cassidy, 12, Glasgow

"Glasgow is rainy and windy and cold, so Florida is a lot nicer.

"I remember when I heard I was on Dreamflight because I came home from school and my dad was sat next to his camera equipment all set up, which I didn't think was normal for him.

"He asked me where in the whole world I'd like to go, so I said "America - New York and Florida", and he said I was coming here.

"I ran straight outside and just screamed: 'Yes.'

"My physio told me I deserved something good to look forward to, and I am getting an operation on my spine at Great Ormond Street Hospital when I get back so this has been a good time to chill.

"This holiday has given me more confidence to speak to people and make new friends. It's been awesome."

:: Tilly-Rose Dade, nine, Norwich

"I was really excited because I was nominated to go last year and I didn't manage to. My doctors nominated me because they know how well I am dealing with my diabetes. It is a bit difficult because I have to do all my own bloods, I have to have pods and things that I have to change but I am pretty good at monitoring my own levels.

"There are some things that I can't do but I try and do as much as I can. My head teacher is very good at letting me do as much as I can, I play football a lot and ballet.

"It's been quite weird going on holiday without my family but nice to meet new people."

:: Melanie Cooper, 12, Gosport

"Dreamflight is for sick and disabled children to experience things they have never experienced before, and I think I have done that.

"I have been going on water slides, doing things for the first time - and I'm pleased I have done it.

"I have cystic fibrosis which sometimes means it can sometimes stop me from spending time with my friends, going running, and I also have to take medicine a lot.

"Dreamflight has been really, really fun, I have been able to do so many things so I'm really grateful."

:: Hamidou Gaye, 13, Hackney

"I found out about Dreamflight from my mum when she got a text, I couldn't believe I was going to America.

"It was my first time in America so that's been cool.

"I was most looking forward to the rides - they were amazing but I was probably a bit nervous. I was a bit worried about the dolphins too, because I didn't know what swimming with them would be like. But it was really good.

"When I get back to England I'm going to tell everyone how brilliant it is and that they should go to America too."

:: Harley Richardson, 12, Wimborne

"Dreamflight has been so good. I was uber excited when I found out - the letter was in braille for me so I read it out to my mum on camera.

"Swimming with dolphins was brilliant because we were being pulled along at 25 miles an hour. I have been swimming with my mum but this was definitely better.

"There are only two things I have missed while I have been out here - my mum, and tech. I have missed playing audio games, and I am going to tell everyone at home that this has been so good.

"I've had a 'first' while I've been here, too - I've been called a hero by my chaperone because I was really good all day, no misbehaving."

:: David McKeown, 12, Belfast

"I was a bit nervous about going on Dreamflight because I didn't know anybody, and I was worried about making friends. But I spoke to a few people who like also like football so it's been good.

"I've enjoyed everything here. I was a bit worried about the roller coasters but they've been fine.

"I am more confident now. I didn't know what we would be doing each day, but it has been full of good surprises."

:: Ethan Wilkin, 10, Newcastle

"I was getting excited when I heard about Dreamflight and my mam was getting crazy too.

"I didn't know anything about Dreamflight before I got invited. Everybody has been really welcoming here so it's been good.

"My favourite bit was getting a Harry Potter wand, I was chosen to get it. I have had such a good time, it's been brilliant."

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