Sitting at the Newark Country Club on Monday, it was “kind of unreal,” to see the community pull together to support her son, Jacqueline Shweda said.
“It’s amazing that people can come together for an event like this for my son,” she said. “Or for any child who has special needs.”
Shweda’s son, 6-year-old Liam Ramos, was the beneficiary of the 24th annual Sunshine Scramble Golf Tournament. The Sunshine Foundation raises money to support the dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children from income-limited families.
Through the Sunshine Foundation, the family can enjoy Disney World and Florida for a week, with no expense to the family.
Liam, a first-grade student at Leasure Elementary in the REACH program, is diagnosed with severe autism, global developmental delay and microcephaly. The funds raised on Monday night at the Newark Country Club will support Liam, his mother, father Jose Ramos and twin sister Mila in their trip, during where they’ll stay in the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village.
Liam, Shweda noted, is a big fan of the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” television show.
“Disney is a huge thing,” she said. “This will be all about Liam.”
After the golf tournament, Liam and his family were gifted a “Dream Box” by the foundation’s 2011 recipient, Shane Turulski.
“I went through what he’s going to go through, and I know it felt very good when people helped me,” Turulski said. “I know he’s going to have a blast.”
Turulski also went to Disney due to the Sunshine Foundation’s efforts.
“It was great because I went to a dream place of mine,” he said. “I can’t really put it in words. I’m very grateful for the Sunshine Foundation.”
Since 1976, the Sunshine Foundation has answered more than 40,000 dreams with the help of all-volunteer chapters around the country.
“It’s outstanding,” Shweda said. “We feel so thankful.”