Surrey resident Ryker Slaney, 7, with “Captain Starlight” aboard a Rocky Mountaineer train during a recent trip hosted by Starlight Children’s Foundation. (submitted photo)

Surrey resident Ryker Slaney, 7, with “Captain Starlight” aboard a Rocky Mountaineer train during a recent trip hosted by Starlight Children’s Foundation. (submitted photo)

CHARITY

‘Special’ train trip for Surrey boy living with kidney failure and isolated by pandemic

Journey through the Rockies was ‘something we didn’t think we would get to do because we are stuck at home so often,’ mom says

Surrey’s Ryker Slaney went on a special train trip designed to take him away from his illness, if only for a few days, and bring welcome distraction after months of isolation during the pandemic.

The seven-year-old was among 10 seriously ill children invited on a two-day Starlight Children’s Foundation journey aboard a Rocky Mountaineer train, from Banff to Vancouver.

Ryker, who’s been living with kidney failure since he was just five weeks old, lives in the Clayton Heights area with his family.

“With all the obstacles that we have faced in the last seven years, this trip is something we didn’t think we would get to do because we are stuck at home so often,” said Ryker’s mother, Magda.

“When we do go out, it’s for some memories to remind us of the happy times away from the hospitalizations,” Magda added. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The fact that we get to do this as a family is even more special.”

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To get to Banff and then out of Vancouver, all of the “Starlight” kids and their families were given round-trip flights donated by Air Canada Foundation.

The double-decker train offered views of the Rocky Mountains, live entertainment from caricature artists, cookie decorating with the train chefs and visits with TV broadcaster Rick Campanelli. Starlight Canada’s “superhero,” Captain Starlight, was also along for the ride.

For more than 30 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada has worked to “create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families,” with a blend of hospital and home programs. For details, visit starlightcanada.org.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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