Samuel - "Never give up on your dreams"
A year since his dream, Samuel tells us how it has changed his life.
With a new year comes optimism and exciting dreams, but for some of the Dreams children it means uncertainty and more hospital appointments. Despite the challenges which lie ahead, Samuel, one of our inspirational dreams recipients, was given a second chance at living and believes the legacy of his dream has changed his life.
Samuel Deakin is 18 from Sheffield and has a severe heart condition and cerebral palsy, which makes mobility and communication difficult. In June 2011, Samuel’s parents Amanda and Andrew were told by his doctors there was nothing more they could do for him. Unwilling to accept this they went to Newcastle Hospital’s new state of the art heart unit for a second opinion. Samuel underwent a gruelling 10-hour heart operation which was a success and greatly improved his quality of life. Dreams Comes True made Samuel’s dream - to see his favourite basketball team, Orlando Magic, play a home game - a reality.
Thanks to the operation and against all odds Samuel was given the all-clear to take a nine-hour flight to Florida. He spent 10 days in Florida, visiting the theme parks before finally fulfilling his dream watching Orlando play the Miami Heat.
Samuel said: “I never thought I would get to America because I was so ill. I was dying! I never gave up hope though. I'm a fighter and like to push myself. I was too ill to fly but I still wanted to go to watch my team play. At the time the doctors said it wasn't a good idea. I was worried about flying, but I needn't have worried. I feel more confident in my ability to achieve things I never thought I would.”
Samuel’s mum, Amanda, said: “I will always remember the excitement of Samuel being on court giving the players a high-five.” Samuel remembers the trip as if it were yesterday: “It was just fantastic! I will never forget it. It was what I had always wanted to do. To see and be close to basketball players I had played with on my PlayStation was awesome. I will never forget the trip, to think I was so close to my favourite players is a magical memory that will never leave me.”
Amanda praised the charity for never giving up on Samuel and his dream: “We felt we would never make it to America, especially when Samuel was so terribly ill with traumatic surgery ahead of him. However you never gave up on making his dream come true and that has kept us going too!”
Samuel‘s magical trip gave him a huge morale boost – Samuel has told his parents he wants to go again! He is now at college, in his third year, studying Creative Media and moving forward with his life.
“I am learning about different technologies in media, soft wear and programs,
I even did a project at college using photos from my trip; it went towards my course work.”
Samuel is Amanda’s only child and they have a unique bond: “Samuel has been through so much, but he smiles all the time, he has such a positive attitude.”
Samuel’s inspiring message for 2014 is: “Never give up on your dreams! They may take a while in coming but live your life a day at a time and see what you can achieve. Keep smiling and never have any regrets about not having tried new things, even if it takes lots of time and effort to do them. “
Amanda said Dreams Comes True is: “...awe-inspiring, and the people who work there, you know for them it’s more than just a job.”
One of the true joys of working at Dreams Come True is that every week we get to hear a story like Samuel’s. His love of life, the fact that he dreams big dreams and his sense of fun are so inspiring and so typical of the children and young people we work with. We believe that having hopes and dreams, working towards their achievement, and using that experience to acquire a sense of achievement, greater self confidence and hope for the future can deliver a profound positive impact on children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions and on their families. We call it the power of dreams. Working with the University of Stirling and a high level advisory group drawn from across the paediatric palliative care sector, we are examining this positive impact through a unique doctoral research project, the “Power of Dreams Study”.