A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy’s dream became a reality when he got the chance to swim with dolphins in America.
Brave youngster Brandon Ballance from Amble has suffered an inoperable brain tumour for the last seven years after being diagnosed with a cancerous growth when he was just two.
His devoted mum, Sarah Nicholson, wanted to take him on the trip of a lifetime to Disneyland Florida to swim with dolphins and held a huge public fund-raising campaign.
And after smashing their target of £15,000 the dream became a reality.
Brandon arrived home last week, and although he was poorly for a few days during his two-week trip, mum Sarah said the whole experience was ‘magical’.
“It was just absolutely amazing,” she said.
“The hotel was fantastic they treated him like a prince the whole time he was there.
“He swam with dolphins twice as they let him go in again for free, gave him free DVDs and photographs. He went to a VIP character breakfast with the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland and others, and he arrived there in a limousine and he loved that.
“We went to the Magic Kingdom and saw the big parade and fireworks and went to the Animal Kingdom as well.
“But the dolphins were his favourite part. They can sense when there is something wrong and they took a real shine to Brandon doing flips for him and talking to him.
“It was just out of this world, and seeing the smile on his face was brilliant.
“I am absolutely speechless about that and it was just magical.
“We have created so many memories as a family. It was the first time we’ve been away as a family and had the chance to live a normal life.
“Those two weeks without the hospital and everything – it was just lovely.”
Brandon went away with his mum, little sister Sienna and his nana. They stayed at the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Unfortunately, Brandon was poorly for four days during the trip with a viral infection, which meant that the family was not able to go to Universal Studios.
But Sarah said they will be getting a refund on the tickets and she will be using it for another treat.
“I’m going to give him a surprise in December,” she said.
And she added: “I would like to thank the Gazette for taking on this story and helping us.
“I would also like to thank each and every one of you who has donated and supported Brandon’s Wish.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything like this on my own. It is because of the public and people further afield that have helped us to achieve this in such a short space of time.
“We are keeping Brandon’s Wish open for the future to take him out on day trips when he is well enough.”
Brandon is also writing a book about his experiences to help other youngsters who go through cancer.