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Nanaimo teen living with diabetes will realize Disneyland dream

Ava Hornby selected by non-profit Help Fill a Dream
Ava Hornby, front, cuts the cake as Linda Kitzul, Country Grocer’s community events coordinator, looks on at the Cedar location on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Hornby will head to Disneyland in two weeks thanks to non-profit Help Fill a Dream. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo teenager who has diabetes will realize a dream when she and her family head to Disneyland this month.

Ava Hornby, 15, was selected as the latest dream recipient by Help Fill a Dream and will head to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ in California where she will enjoy the Halloween decorations and Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy-themed exhibits and rides.

Hornby said she is looking forward to the trip, visiting the different areas of the park, meeting the characters and stopping by the Star Wars workshop to build her own Jedi weapon.

“[My lightsaber’s] probably going to be blue, especially since it’s the awareness colour for Type 1, it’s always been my favourite colour growing up.”

Hornby was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was four years old, and it is something she has adjusted to.

“That’s definitely been a huge part of my development over the years, growing up through childhood, then being a teenager and dealing with it,” said Hornby. “I was a dancer when I was really young, so it definitely affected my blood sugars … it was a huge thing of managing it and then also making sure that my friends and family were in on what was going on, but it definitely had its setbacks.”

Her family, including mother Joelle and father Barry, have been very supportive, she said.

Help Fill a Dream’s mandate is to fulfill dreams of children and families facing critical health conditions on Vancouver Island, and Craig Smith, executive director, said numerous children have seen dreams become reality since the non-profit’s 1986 inception.

“At this point over the past 37 years, we’re coming in close to 1,000 kids that would have been supported by Help Fill a Dream,” he said.

The announcement was made Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Country Grocer in Cedar, where Ava works, making the reveal all the more special.

“This is my first job, so it’s really nice being able to share such a huge part of my life in the sense of my Type 1 and they’ve been super supportive,” she said. “If I need to take a break, or if I need to sit in the back office if I’m dealing with low blood sugar, they’re very flexible at being able to work with me and having me work with them.”

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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