Starlight Dash

by Hersharon Sandhu

Amidst a small crowd of cheering supporters and cameras, an excited 10 year old waits hand in hand with her sister to start her toy shopping spree. Sadie Martin was one of the few children chosen across Canada for Starlight Children Foundation’s 3-minute shopping dash at the Toys-R-Us today. Accompanied by mascot ‘Captain Starlight’, Sadie and her sister Kendrie got the chance of the lifetime to run through the aisles of the Toys “R” Us and fill up their shopping carts with anything they saw on the shelves within the three minutes.

Sadie has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a genetic disorder which causes seizures and affects facial appearance, development, muscle tone and growth. Needless to say, she has been deprived of the childhood that most of us get to enjoy. The Starlight Children’s Foundation provides children like Sadie the chance to truly enjoy their childhood. The foundation prides itself on programs that take Starlight children from a trip to the zoo to a harbour cruises or bring distraction and entertainment to them while hospitalized. Starlight Children’s Foundation strives to create an environment where the children and their families can ‘leave the sick behind.’ Events like the Starlight Dash, funded in partnership with Toys “R” Us, brighten up their lives, allowing them to return home with precious memories and lots and lots of toys.

Family caregiving is an exhausting occupation and often goes underappreciated. If the saying “It takes a village to rear a child” holds true, then we must appreciate the work the entire village puts towards taking care of a child that requires a little more attention. Starlight Children’s Foundation put together an amazing event not only for Sadie, but also her parents. Arriving at 7am with a box of timbits “for fuel,” the Martin family seemed to be in high spirits as they prepared for the shopping dash. Sadie and Kendrie were all smiles as they rang through their haul, no doubt excited to begin playing with all their new toys.

If you’ve been to a Toys “R” Us in the past few months, you may have been asked “Would you like to help a Starlight child?” The donations collected at the store level fund events like the Starlight Dash that help improve the lives of seriously ill children and their family since 2013. Sadie Martin truly was the Starlight Child this morning, when she got the opportunity to run down the aisles at the Toys “R” Us to pick out any toys and games to keep. These dashes continue to take place across Canada in eight cities throughout September. To learn more about Starlight dashes and other events hosted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation, visit

Photography courtesy of  Embrace Disruption. 

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