When Yuri’s Night Global Team Primary and Preschool Outreach representative Dee Robb lost her brother, Daniel, in October 2011, she found an opportunity to help him realize his dream of going to space. This morning at 8:59am Eastern Time, Dee watched as Daniel ascended to space aboard a SpaceLoft XL rocket as a participant on the Celestis Centennial Flight. “He was so interested in space”, recalls Dee; as a child “his whole room was decorated with all kinds of shuttles and space rockets and astronauts hanging from the roof.” Sadly, Daniel had always been somewhat troubled, and later in life battled addiction. “We were probably twelve one day and we were sitting at the kitchen table doing homework and he kind of looked up and said, ‘I’m never really going to be an astronaut am I?’” Although in life he knew his dreams were “somewhat out of reach”, Dee was able to give him his dream this morning. “For us,” she explains, the Celestis memorial is about “doing something for him that he would never have been able to do himself.”
Dee’s personal devotion to space doesn’t end there. Dee, her husband Shane, and their young son all have an interest in space. Shane can be found reading space related biographies while her son plays with an endless supply of space toys, asking questions such as “how long would it take to get to Mars?” Her son, like her brother, dreams of one day becoming an astronaut.
When she isn’t busy running a financial services company or fielding endless space questions from her son and watching space documentaries, Dee tirelessly devotes her time to Yuri’s Night. Thanks to Dee, Yuri’s Night 2013 saw the celebration of human spaceflight throughout an entire Canadian school district, a first for Yuri’s Night. In another first, a Canadian national network of preschools hosted events for their students to explore space here on Earth. Yuri’s Night Executive Director Ryan Kobrick said, “the passion for helping all of humanity chase their dreams to the stars is shared by the entire Yuri’s Night Global Executive Team and is exemplified by Dee’s touching personal story and her continual community support for both Yuri’s Night and her endeavors.”
In Daniel’s own words, Dee is truly “awesome.” We are immensely grateful to have found Dee and we look forward to the innumerable and amazing things to come from her passion for spaceflight.