Sunshine offered Christmas lights

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Dear Editor,

The Sunshine Parade of Lights made its second annual presentation Dec. 18, 1999 at 7 p.m. in the city of Thunder Bay, Ont. This is a totally unique event and was started and dedicated to children who are terminally ill or who have mental or physical disabilities.

The Sunshine Parade of Lights is an evening parade, featuring only transport trucks decorated with Christmas lights. It’s an initiative of the local chapter of volunteers for The Sunshine Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes for sick, disabled and children with life-threatening diseases.

Last year a little boy (five) in our chapter of the Sunshine Foundation wanted to go for a ride in a big truck for his Christmas present. We contacted Coca-Cola about their Christmas truck and also the idea was put out to some of the truck drivers in Thunder Bay. The whole thing began to snowball and the night of the parade we had 53 trucks roll in!

This year was even bigger and better, we had a total of 72 trucks light up and entertain the people of Thunder Bay in the Intercity area the night of Dec. 18, 1999. Unfortunately, the little boy who was to be in the lead truck was too sick to ride and was down in the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto, but his sisters rode for him and were going to tell him all about it. The truck drivers who joined in the parade gladly took other special needs kids who also wished to ride in the trucks. We had all types of trucks from cement trucks, bush trucks, fire trucks, long-haul road units and even a 1928 Model A truck that was used to deliver coal in its day.

The drivers and companies totally take on the expense of decorating their trucks. Bulk Systems of Thunder Bay had more than 3,000 lights on its truck alone. On top of all this, it raised more than $7,000 in donations from employees, bosses and friends.

This is a very busy time of the year when time and money are short. The drivers and companies that contribute really do go the extra mile to help children who have to deal daily with serious health problems.

I am hoping that you will share our story in your magazine.

Barbara Kemp

Thunder Bay, Ont.

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