Organization Makes Dream Trip Possible


Two weeks on the warm, sunny beaches of Florida and the Caribbean.

A five-day dream cruise. Snorkeling among magnificent coral reefs. Even a day in a peaceful, deserted island paradise with its own lagoon, uninhabited beaches and coconut palms.

For 13-year-old John Sandbrook, his two younger brothers and their parents, it is a dream come true, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A year and a half ago, the Ventura boy was diagnosed with ryabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that begins as a small tumor in the skeletal muscle.


He spent most of last year in chemotherapy and radiation. Today, he is off treatment and back at Anacapa Middle School. Although he is constantly monitored with blood work and X-rays, the tumor from the life-threatening disease has not returned.

“What we do now is just wait and see,” said his mother, Debbie Sandbrook. “You’re just never over it. We are, but we aren’t.” She said the trip gave John something to look forward to during his difficult treatment.

“He’s so excited. He loves the heat. He loves the sun,” she said. “He’s changed a lot after his cancer experience. He’s so full of life, he’s so full of zest these days.

“It really means a lot. We couldn’t afford to do this, ever. They have just been so wonderful and so gracious.”

The family--John, his father, Rick, and mother, Debbie, and two younger boys, Ricky, 12, and David, 9--will fly today to Orlando and start the five-day cruise through the Caribbean on the U.S. Oceanic on Monday.

American Airlines helped with five free airline tickets for the family. The Big Red Boat helped by providing the cruise at a reduced rate. The remainder of the trip is being funded through contributions from the local community.


The Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties granted the wishes of 40 families last year and hopes to fulfill at least 46 wishes this year.

The organization relies on contributions from individuals, businesses and special events. Donors can contribute cash, in-kind gifts, cars and even frequent flier miles. Volunteers also are needed.

For more information, call (888) 899-9474. Donations can be sent to Make-A-Wish, 4141 State St., Suite C3, Santa Barbara 93110.