Eight-year-old Natalia Trendewicz, who is battling Wilms’ tumour, was among the 32 brave children who flew to Lapland from East Midlands Airport to make exciting new memories with their loved ones. WYWUAS spent £90,000 to charter a private flight, using generous donations that had been collected throughout the year.
The trip – which took place last weekend (7 December) – included husky sleigh rides, reindeer rides and sledging, getting the festive season into full swing and giving children a break from the usual schedule of hospital appointments at home.
Speaking on the plane on the way to Lapland, Natalia’s mum Joanna Trendewicz said: “As a family we love travelling and exploring new places so we’re all really happy we get to experience the trip together. After 12 months of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiotherapy, it’s important that Natalia enjoys herself and has fun.
“I know she’s really looking forward to visiting Santa and riding the husky sleigh rides, she loves dogs so that will be a real treat. The charity has been amazing, and we feel really lucky to have been invited to join them on the trip.”
After landing in Lapland, the children were taken to a magical forest to explore their snow-covered surroundings and enjoy a firework display with guardians and family members.
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.
Karen Martt, general manager at WYWUAS, said: ‘We always look forward to our annual Lapland visit – it’s such a special Christmas present to give to those families that need it the most.
“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 children to relax and make memories that last forever, without worrying about the stresses of life at home.”
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.
Karen added: “We’re proud to have been able to host another successful trip to Lapland and want to thank each and every person who donated to WYWUAS this year – we could not have done it without them.
“All of the donations go towards granting the wishes of special children and we hope 2020 is another successful year of fundraising and turning dreams into a reality.”
It costs £900 to send each child and their guardian to Lapland, so generous donations are essential to ensure the organisation can continue this magical Christmas tradition.
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.