A group of youngsters with life-threatening illnesses have been gifted a trip to Lapland by When You Wish Upon A Star (WYWUAS), a national charity that has been transforming the lives of children and families across the UK since it was founded in 1990. 

32 Seriously Ill Children Taken on Dream Christmas Trip to Lapland
Children and their guardians before boarding the plane with stars from Emmerdale

The charity was founded in Nottingham by Barbara White, who was so inspired by a seriously ill four-year-old, who dreamt of meeting Mickey Mouse, she wanted to bring smiles to the faces of many more brave and courageous children.

WYWUAS has gone on to grant over 18,000 wishes and counting.

The Lapland trip – which took place on the 7th December – included husky sleigh rides, reindeer rides, sledging and a meeting with Santa, getting the festive season into full swing and giving children a break from the usual schedule of hospital appointments at home.

32 Seriously Ill Children Taken on Dream Christmas Trip to Lapland
11-year-old Finley Wake from Chesterfield with Santa in Lapland

The charity used £90,000 worth of donations to charter a private flight from East Midlands Airport for the group of children from across UK, including Barnsley, Derby, Falkirk, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

“We always look forward to our annual Lapland trip – it’s such a special Christmas present to give to those families that need it the most,” said Karen Martt, general manager at WYWUAS.

“The trip allows children with life-threatening illnesses to forget about the gruelling rigmarole of treatments and soak up the magic of Christmas with Santa himself. We love being able to create a safe space for both guardians and children to relax and make memories that last forever, without worrying about the stresses of life at home.”

After landing in Lapland, the children were taken to a magical forest to explore their snow-covered surroundings and enjoy a firework display with their loved ones.

Following a hot dinner and a chance to warm up, the guests were treated to a meeting with Santa Claus, where each child got the chance to tell him what they wanted for Christmas and receive an early present.

Emmerdale stars Ash Palmisciano, Jonny McPherson and Natalie Robb also joined the group for the festivities to help raise awareness of the trip and the work carried out by the charity.

32 Seriously Ill Children Taken on Dream Christmas Trip to Lapland
All of the families and WYWUAS staff in the forest in Lapland

The charity is already preparing for another year of fundraising for its 30th Anniversary in 2020 and is seeking volunteers to support its efforts of providing respite for families in need.

Visit the WYWUAS website for more information.  

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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