Thesp helps org bring ill children closer to joy

Sunshine Kids provides trips for cancer patients

G.W Bailey’s involvement with the Sunshine Kids almost didn’t happen. Invited to attend the foundation’s annual ski trip by his goddaughter Brandy Aldridge, “The Closer” thesp hesitated.

“I said, ‘Oh I’m too busy. I hung up the phone and she called me back and said, ‘I’m your goddaughter, I have cancer, I want you up here.’ ”

The one-day trip in 1987 turned into the entire week, and led to what Bailey calls one of the most important moments of his life.

Brandy, who was diagnosed with leukemia died Christmas Eve 1989 at age 17, but Bailey volunteered for 16 years before being named exec director in 2001.

Org, founded in 1982, is dedicated to providing activities and trips for kids with cancer. Its hallmark is the national trips, weeklong affairs for kids ranging from 11-18 that have taken them to the likes of New York and Hawaii. The parent-free week, “because we want them to have fun,” is, according to the thesp, a time for the kids to be themselves.

“Our No. 1 judge of how it’s working is when the wigs come off. When the prosthetics come off. When they sit by the pool and they have an implanted central line, and they’ll sit there with their shirt off and they don’t care anymore cause they’re surrounded by people they love.”

Bailey says the org is solely dedicated to bringing this kind of joy.

“I’m not going to cure cancer. I hope somebody does, I can’t, this organization can’t. We hope were out of business tomorrow, but until that happens this is what we do, and we just want them to have fun.”