When everyone else was leaving Alton Towers for the day, one very special girl was arriving for something spectacular…
Five year old Olivia, who is living with an incurable condition which means she is intolerant to UV rays, had her greatest wish to visit the theme park without fear of getting ill,thanks to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity. To make her dream become a reality Olivia, along with 100 of her closest friends and family, were granted exclusive afterhours access to the park in the dark.
Olivia from Mansfield, is currently living with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) – a genetic disorder that means she is intolerant to UV rays and makes her at a very high risk of skin cancer. Due to her condition, Olivia has to wear a special UV-protective mask and has to be completely covered up whenever she ventures outside. Her condition also means that she is also at risk when indoors, due to lamps and lights that emit UV rays.
The condition, which affects less than 100 people in the UK, means that Olivia misses out on doing things that other children can do easily, like playing in the park or garden with her friends, and her greatest wish was to be able to visit Cbeebies Land.
Rays of Sunshine worked closely with Alton Towers and its Merlin Magic Wand charity to allow Olivia access to the park once it had closed and dark. This meant Olivia was able to enjoy herself without fear of getting ill and, more importantly, without having to wear her protective mask and clothing; just like any other child.
Upon arrival Olivia and her friends were treated to a whole host of entertainment, from balloon model making to plate spinning, as well as enjoying a visit from a very special surprise guest, Cbeebies star, Mr Bloom. She was then able to enjoy a private performance from the ZingZillas before being able to enjoy all of the rides the park had to offer.
Jodie, Olivia’s mum, commented:
“To see Olivia enjoying some ‘normal’ time without her mask was amazing. She gets looked at and pointed at all the time when we go out , which upsets her and her brother Eddie. So to be able to relax and not worry about that or exposing her skin to UV was a very rare treat. We will remember it for a very long time.”