Charlie-Anne’s trips are usually to do with her health issues.
On Tuesday, Charlie-Anne Cox came to Langley to be a kid.
The nine-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 was chosen for a three-minute toy dash at Toys ’R Us.
The Vancouver family chose to do the dash at the Langley store, its 45,000 square foot flagship facility, and on Tuesday before the store opened, several staff came in early to be part of the event.
The shopping spree is a partnership between the toy retailer and the Starlight Children’s Foundation which provides experiences for seriously ill children and their families.
After learning they were chosen, the planning started.
“We took a trip out here and went through the store,” her mom, Cherie Ehlert, explained.
Her parents, step-dad and nurse were part of her team picking out the items Charlie-Anne wanted.
“She did her little wish list of everything she was into,” Cherie added.
On the wish list was a lot of My Little Pony, a spa kit, science kits, Power Puff Girls, and speakers to hook up to her wheelchair.
The family even did a map as part of their strategy. But on the morning of, during a dry run, they discover that excitement tended to overtake strategy.
“We were all so nervous. After one minute, I thought I was going to pass out, just because the adrenaline,” mom said.
After the three-minute dash, the adults had a chance to catch their breath.
“Overwhelming but so exciting,” said Matt Cox, her dad. “Our hearts were racing.”
Charlie-Anne supervised her team from her wheelchair.
“We did a trial run, but oh boy, that was something else,” he added.
Most importantly the spree was a chance for Charlie-Anne to focus being a child.
“Whenever you tell anyone you’re doing it, whatever age they are, ‘we’d love to do that’,” Cherie said.
Charlie-Ann’s family has planned a gathering Friday with friends to play with the toys.
“It was an amazing experience,” her mom said after the dash.
The family was grateful to the foundation and Toys ’R Us for the opportunity.
Company president Melanie Teed-Murch was at the Kamloops toy spree Monday and was there to cheer on Charlie-Anne Tuesday.
“So this year we’re doing 10 [toy dashes],” she said. “It’s important as a Canadian company to give back to our communities.”
She added the company is happy to work with the foundation to give the experience to children with significant health issues.
“This brings moments of joy to dash through a toy store for three minutes and be the hero of the day,” she said.