Riding on Sunshine

A dream trip across the United States to make memories

Embracing Life Now

Marissa is 16 years old and time is running short. Diagnosed with Freidreich’s Ataxia, Marissa and her family know their time together is limited. Her mom, Dawn, decided that now was the time to take a dream road trip with her daughters. 

Why now? “Because tomorrow is not guaranteed,” Dawn said.  “Now, because this only gets harder. Now because it makes my daughter smile. Now because we’ve missed out on so much by putting it off for a time of more money, more stability, greater safety.  Now because NOW is all we have.”

Her doctor told her that she was “nuts.” But Dawn asked, “What is more nuts: sitting here waiting for the kids to get worse, or embracing every opportunity we have to make memories?”

She told us, “I will find a way to use this situation and our journey to bless others, to inspire others, to make a difference NOW.”

Joining the Journey 

Spreading Sunshine is joining this journey with Dawn and her daughters, Marissa and Anneliese, to help them experience this dream and fully embrace life by Riding on Sunshine.

Our Executive Director, Diane Smith will be joining them for part of the trip and helping share their story. 

Riding on Sunshine

Where E’re the Wind Shall Take Us

Riding on Sunshine Map


May 14–June 2 — Kansas City, MO | Nashville, TN | Columbus, GA | Orlando, FL | Myrtle Beach, SC


June 2–June 18 — Williamsburg, VA | Quantico, VA | Bangor, ME | Hershey, PA | Cleveland, OH


June 18–July 5 — San Diego, CA | Los Angeles, CA | San Francisco, CA | Monterey, CA | Eureka, CA | Portland, OR | Seattle, WA

Catch Up with Riding on Sunshine

Four Simple Ways to Support Someone Who Uses a Wheelchair

Four Simple Ways to Support Someone Who Uses a Wheelchair

I don’t know what it is like to feel my body failing.  I’ve never been in a wheelchair.  On occasion I may trip over a word or two, but I have never been unable to control the rate and volume of my speech.  As short as I am, I have never viewed the...

How We Journey through this Terrible, Beautiful, Crazy Life

How We Journey through this Terrible, Beautiful, Crazy Life

By Dawn Graczyk, Sunshine Mom As the night winds down, I find myself in awe of the intentionality of my Father, who has indeed worked all things together for a purpose and for my good, whether or not I understand it.  The Beauty of God’s Divine Orchestration...

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We Need Your Help

This trip is made possible due to so many amazing people stepping up to help. Spreading Sunshine is working to help fund the trip through donations and connecting the family with donated lodging. Your gift will ensure that this mother and daughter can make memories and embrace every beautiful moment together.


Spreading Sunshine Logo
Wayfind Marketing Logo
Chick-fil-a — The Shoppes at Bartlett
Dream Hotel Nashville
Ensworth High School
Grace Fellowship
Industrial Insight

Would you like to sponsor this dream trip?

Give online by clicking the button below or fill out our contact form for more information.