JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The sixth annual Dream Day at PRI Productions brought smiles to the faces of 40 children with life-threatening illnesses Saturday. The celebration was filled with superheroes and princesses, for children who walked a red carpet into a huge party just for them complete with their favorite cartoon characters, dancing and more.
Dreams Come True is a nonprofit that raises money to help make the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses become reality.
A total of 40 children from the First Coast were the stars of the annual Dream Day Parade, which kicked off before the party.
Each child got their moment to shine as they were escorted into the celebration in a cool car and then met their favorite superhero, princess or character on the red carpet.
Children walked the red carpet to reach PRI's studio, which was transformed into a magical play area for kids.
One of those children was 12-year-old Joshua Ribeiro Jr. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblatic leukemia, a rare blood disease.
"I think that this whole thing, (what) dreams come true does for all the kids is so amazing of them. This right here makes me totally forget my diagnosis. This makes me feel so normal, just to have that one day where you can feel like (you're in) the spotlight. You're the one in the dead center," Joshua said.
That is the reason for Dream Day -- so-- kids like Joshua can have a day of normalcy, a day to just have fun and forget about everything else going on. This special event is also for families who go through the experience with their child while dealing with worry and concern.
One mother, whose son, Reed, has acute lymphoblatic leukemia, said the event means the world to their family.
"It's amazing and overwhelming. You can't run away from what's going on but we get to dream and forget and have fun and not worry about a thing, and that means everything," she said.
People from all over the community volunteered to make the event possible. From live performances of Disney princesses, every dream was taken into account for the magical day.
Since 1984, Dreams Come True has fulfilled the dreams of about 4,000 children. No child is ever denied a dream and no child is ever placed on a waiting list.
In fact, the nonprofit is currently working with over 400 kids. And unless otherwise designated, 100% of all donations go directly toward dream fulfillment.
Because this is a donation based organization, they need your help making these dreams a reality for the children. $10,240 was donated during Monday's phone bank at Channel 4. An annoymous donor is matching that amount, and an additional $60,000 donation was received from The Players.