It’s lift off for ten-year-old Sam!

Samuel Tomlinson in front of rocket

Samuel Tomlinson in front of shuttle26/07/2011 –  Ten-year-old Sam Tomlinson from Aylsham near Norwich has had his dearest wish to visit the Kennedy Space Centre granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.   

Just before Christmas in 2009, Sam was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, which is a form of cancer that has previously been unheard of in children in the UK.  The tumour in his mouth was removed with a procedure called a Maxillectomy in January 2010 and then Sam underwent a radical course of radiotherapy.  

Sam’s mother Sarah told Starlight, “Sam was extremely brave throughout all his treatment.  He never complained or made a big fuss.  He endured six weeks of radiotherapy, staying away from home during the week.  He did this all with a smile on his face and the way he has coped has been a source of inspiration to us.” 

The youngster, who says he likes building lego sets, drawing cartoons and riding his bike with his father, was referred to Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime wish by CLIC Sargent.  He said that his greatest wish would be to visit the Kennedy Space Centre in Orlando, Florida with his parents Sarah and Mark.   

In May, Sam and his family travelled to Orlando where they stayed for a very special week-long visit, which included a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre.  The exclusive tour included lunch with a real astronaut and a ride in a Space Shuttle Simulator, which Sam later described as “like really being in space”.  

Starlight had also arranged for the family to have a hire car so that Sam and his parents were able to complete their Florida adventure with a trip to Universal Studios, where they sampled all the excitements of the theme park, and Discovery Cove, where the three of them were able to together swim with dolphins.  

On their return from the trip, Sarah said, “Thank you so much Starlight for arranging our wonderful holiday to Florida and the Kennedy Space Centre.  Our trip was so interesting and the added astronaut lunch and tour made it even more so.  Sam absolutely loved all of it and it was a real trip-of-a-lifetime for him.  We will be forever grateful to Starlight and will never forget it.” 

Sam added, “I really loved this trip and will remember it forever and ever and ever.  Thank you.”


Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231

Starlight grants a once-in-a-lifetime wish for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.

Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.

You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that 91p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.