By Vivian Collings
Tathan McCutcheon’s biggest dream was to build a basketball court, and it was made possible this spring with a little help from his friends.
The Sunshine Foundation of Canada recently granted Tathan a “dream” in the winter of 2022.
The Sunshine Foundation outlined their mission on their website as, “A charity that changes the lives of kids living with severe physical disabilities for the opportunity to lead a brighter, more hopeful future.”
Tathan is diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental disability. After lots of brainstorming, he decided on a basketball court so that all of his friends, the people he loves most, could enjoy his Dream along with him.
“In order for the Dream to be granted, we needed a contractor to be the liaison to run the show. I reached out to Graham Borgdorff, owner of Above Board Carpentry, and I knew he was super busy with his business and likely wouldn’t have time to take this on, but he said ‘yes’ immediately,” said Tathan’s mom, Bethan McCutcheon.
“We really enjoyed the work that the McCutcheons asked us to do,” said Borgdorff. “We are always honoured to be a part of Tathan’s projects because he expresses such thankfulness and is always excited to see us.”
Bethan said that the rest of the team at Above Board Carpentry, Sarah Josephs-Langmann, Isaac Graham, Aaron Alfano, and Liam Stringer, were also exceptionally helpful and wonderful.
“When they were there for 10 days working on the basketball court, they were so excited to be there. They were super engaging and their energy was infectious,” she said.
The Sunshine Foundation gives a specific budget for each project, so the project must be completed within the allotted funds. To begin the project, Borgdorff and the team needed the land to be cleared, gravel to be put down and flattened and landscaped, so they would need heavy machinery to do so.
“Tathan knows lots of people with mighty machines around here, so I knew I would be able to reach out to someone,” said Bethan. “The very first person I reached out to was Mike Fisher from Mike Fisher Trucking Company, and he immediately said, ‘Yes, and just so you know, we will be doing this free of charge because we don’t want any money taken away from the budget,’ which was so wonderful.”
Bethan said that the most incredible part about watching the building process was seeing everyone come together as a team to make Tathan’s “Dream” come true.
The McCutcheon family would also like to thank Fowlers Quarry in Haliburton, who donated two loads of stone to the project, Steve Davidson for laying the concrete, and JAC Kernohan Construction for a discounted price on the concrete.
A grand reveal party was held at Tathan’s basketball court on Saturday, June 18 on Spring Valley Road in Minden where close to 40 people attended, including Spider-Man.
“Tathan was thrilled to be with his friends and had lots of fun on the basketball court. All Tathan ever wants is to be with his friends,” Bethan said. “As a mom, I was so excited to watch this awesome opportunity for him to share his Dream with the community and his friends come to life. It’s so easy to see darkness in the world, but then I see all of this love and support being poured into this project for my son, and it brings so much light.”