'Don't shatter our dreams': Stoke-on-Trent charity Caudwell Children may have to axe Disneyland trip due to cash shortage (video)
THE future of an annual trip to Disneyland for dozens of sick children is under threat because of a lack of cash.
More than 180 youngsters and their families have been treated to the holiday-of-a-lifetime by charity Caudwell Children since 2007.
But the Destination Dreams trip for 2013 is at risk after the charity was hit by the recession and a loss of some corporate sponsors.
Now the charity has launched a Keep The Dream Alive appeal as it looks to raise £250,000 for the December visit.
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Charity officials want schools, businesses and organisations to help them raise cash towards the trip.
Caudwell Children chief executive Trudi Beswick said: "The need for funds is urgent as without sufficient funds the trip can't go ahead. For some of these children 2013 may be the last chance they have to take any kind of holiday.
"This trip has brightened the lives of families for six years. It has become a vital part of our work to support families and one that we are determined to see continue."
Caudwell Children was founded by North Staffordshire billionaire John Caudwell in 2000 to help the region's sick children. In 2004, the charity started helping youngsters across the UK. It supports about 2,000 new children every year.
The Caudwell family funds all the charity's management and administration costs, meaning every penny raised goes direct to a project or individual child.
Parents whose children have been on previous Destination Dreams trips today urged people to back the appeal.
Niamh Bailey, aged 14, of Dimsdale Parade, Wolstanton, went to Florida in 2009 with her family after being struck down with a brain tumour.
Mum Jennifer said: "After the worst year we had ever had as a family Disneyland was something good to look forward to.
"It made a welcome relief from hospitals and appointments. I think people should support the appeal to give deserving families the chance of a lifetime to experience something amazing with their children who may have a limited life expectancy.
"I always thought something like your children becoming ill is something that only happens to other people.
"The trip gave us quality time together and those nine days are something we talk about often and I want other people to have that chance."
Seventeen-year-old Joshua Cashmore – who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which weakens the muscles – went to Florida in 2011.
Mum Kelly, of Blurton, said: "The Destination Dreams trip was the experience of a lifetime. It would be devastating if other families didn't have the same opportunity.
"We would never have been able to afford or manage the trip without the support of Caudwell Children. We created happy memories that we will all remember forever."
To support the appeal, call 01782 600 651 or visit www.justgiving.com/teams/keepthedreamalive