A Ray of Sunshine: A Story from a Sunshine Foundation of Canada Alumni

15.09.17 | Blog


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From left to right: Sarah Lashbrook, a Sunshine Alumni, Heidi Spannbauer of The Sunshine Foundation of Canada, Darrell Pitman of P&G Auto Parts, Steve Fletcher of Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association and Chris Pitman of P&G Auto Parts.

Last month, OTS gathered at P&G Auto Parts in North Bay to celebrate the completion of the eighth annual OARA Tire Take Back event, a community fundraiser organized by the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) and OTS, in association with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).

Each year through this event, Ontarians come together to help raise money in support of The Sunshine Foundation of Canada through the collection of tires. This year we saw a total of 52,100 tires collected, raising $54,528 for Sunshine. Since 2009, Tire Tack Back has helped with the collection and proper recycling of more than 500 thousand used tires and led to a total of more than $1.1 million dollars in donations to Sunshine to help children living with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses experience their dream.

Sarah Lashbrook, a Sunshine alumni, shares how her dream experience was completely life-changing.

Life has defining moments that force us to figure out who we are. Who we are about to become. We don’t always see these moments coming. But in hindsight, they glow as bright as the sun.

December 24, 1991 was the start of my defining moment. I was 14 years old, on a road trip with my parents. Half way through the journey, our family car was hit head-on. My father died in the accident, and my mother broke several bones, and received a head injury. I, in the back seat, twisted around so much on impact that the seatbelt cut through my body, severing my spinal cord and making me an instant paraplegic. I also shredded several internal organs such as my stomach, intestines, and appendix. All four people in the other car died.

I was in the hospital for two and a half years.

One day a nurse told me about The Sunshine Foundation of Canada and suggested that I apply for a dream. I had just read a biography on Roseanne Barr, a woman who was in an accident herself. She fought through it and came out on the other side happier, funnier, and with a career. I wanted to meet her. I wanted to know her secret.

I went to Hollywood and spent some time with Roseanne as well as directors, producers, other actors, and writers. I had a blast. But for me, it was so much more than a fun experience. You see, from the moment my accident happened, up until my dream, all I was doing was surviving. I couldn’t grasp how I was going to make a future for myself as a paraplegic, when some days I couldn’t even figure out how to put a shoe on a foot that didn’t move.

My love of writing, mixed with the people I was meeting on my dream, allowed me to think beyond survival and into a future. I wanted to be a writer for film and television.

I made this happen. I am now living my dream. I am a writer/director in film, and have two novels under my belt. More important, I now have a family again thanks to The Sunshine Foundation of Canada. I was never alone. Dreams do come true, and sometimes you get to live out your dreams for more than a moment.

Written by Sarah Lashbrook

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