Deerfield couple call trip with Oprah 'amazing'

December 16, 2010 (DEERFIELD, Ill.)

Debbie and Brian Dann of Deerfield, Ill., talked with ABC7 about the experience of going to Sydney with the 'Queen of Talk' and how it changed their lives.

The Danns only have a bit of unpacking to do after the trip of a lifetime.

"I woke up this morning. I though it was a dream. It was the most amazing experience of our lives, and I don't think we'll ever be able to do anything like that ever again. It was incredible," Debbie Dann told ABC7.

Debbie and Brian Dann ere among 302 Oprah Show viewers at the season premiere who won a trip to Australia. Audience members were selected after submitting entries about the impact the Oprah Show had on their lives.

Brian Dann wrote about a show with survivors of child abduction that inspired him to create a website to help keep kids safe from predators on line.

"It was amazing to be with these people, because all the people who she chose to be on this trip were all very good people," said Brian Dann.

The only down side for the Danns was having to be away from their two children. But on Thursday they shared some of the memories of the trip with their youngest daughter, Addison. They saw the Great Barrier Reef, sailed Sydney Harbor, climbed the Harbor Bridge -- even met some koalas. The couple says they were treated like royalty and felt welcomed by Australians.

"This experience in Australia, it just blows everything else away. It's so surreal. We were so humbled by it because when we were there everyone was so grateful to us for coming. But in reality we were the ones who were so grateful to them for having us," said Debbie Dann.

Amid the whirlwind travel and international hoopla, they discovered their audience mates were incredible people with incredible reasons for being selected by the Oprah Show. They say it was a trip of a lifetime not only for the sites, but for connecting with their fellow travelers.

"You don't need red carpets and champagne to feel extraordinary. You just have to know that you are extraordinary," said Brian Dann.

What made this trip even more meaningful is that Debbie Dann met a cousin she had never met before. The family was separated after the Holocaust and ended up on different continents. She was able to reconnect their families on the trip.

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