Foundation grants Rocklin boy’s wish

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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One Rocklin boy will set sail on an adventure of a lifetime as he makes his way to Disney World at the end of the month. Brandon Severns will have his wish granted by the Sunshine Foundation of a trip to Florida with his mother, aunt and cousin to fulfill his wish of riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The Sunshine Foundation’s mission is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children, according to Sandra Carr, director of development for the foundation. When Severns was about 2 or 3 years old, he suffered a head trauma, his mother Susan Severns said. Susan Severns and her son were sitting at the top of the stairs at their apartment complex, blowing bubbles, when Brandon fell head-first down the 12 cement steps, Susan Severns said. Brandon had another incident when he was 4 years old – his head hit the corner of a hard object. It was when Brandon reached kindergarten and wasn’t testing as high as other children his age, that Susan Severns said something was off. “Right then, I knew something was wrong,” she said. Now at 11 years old, Brandon is in seventh grade at Spring View Middle School, but is working at a second-grade level, Susan said. He is in a special education class due to his severe memory loss and developmental and motor skills issues.  Through it all, Susan Severns has helped her son along the way — working on Brandon’s anger issues and teaching him the meaning of “no.” “Me and him, we’ve been through a lot,” Susan Severns said. Susan Severns first heard about the Sunshine Foundation through Brandon’s previous teacher, Katrina Loutensock at Sierra Elementary School. Susan Severns applied last year for Brandon’s wish and a recent phone call from the foundation announced that a trip to Disney World was in the family’s near future. “I’ve been praying and praying ... I’m so excited,” Susan Severns said. “He was really excited (when he first heard the news). It melted my heart.” The family will spend March 31 through April 4 in Florida with access to three different parks – Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. But what Susan Severns said her son is most excited about is riding the pirates-themed ride. “When we get there he’ll probably want to go on the ride 10 times in the first hour,” Susan Severns said. Brandon’s fascination with boats began when he was just 6 years old and has since grown to include a love for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and drawing pirate ships. “I think (it began) with just boats – he’d see them on TV and then when the movies came out, that made him want to watch,” Susan Severns said. In addition to tickets to the Disney parks, the four will stay in the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village, which is about 15 miles from Disney World and features nine fairytale cottages and a miniature golf course among other features for families. Susan Severns said that she and Brandon are thankful for the help of people within and outside of the community of Rocklin, including the foundation, family members and Brandon’s former teacher. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known about it,” Susan said. For more information on the Sunshine Foundation, go to