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With Days Numbered, Stars Finally Align for 80-something Sweethearts, in the Realization of a Final Valentine’s Dream

Santa Barbara, CA – With a prognosis of less than three months to live due to advanced-stage heart disease, 88-year-old St. Louis resident, Dorothy White, will experience her wish to reunite with the man she loves but is separated from by distance, the poor state of each of their health, and – most pivotally – that both have been too shy to share their mutual feelings of admiration and love.

Her dream is being fulfilled by the Santa Barbara, California-based Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness.

At 5 p.m., Saturday, February 18, the pair – each escorted by their respective caregivers – will come together one last time, for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner at Ryan’s Steakhouse, 7597 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis. In preparation for the dinner, Dorothy will receive a new outfit and a trip to the beauty salon.

Dorothy and Ralph originally connected in the early 1980s when Dorothy’s sister, Marilyn, died. Marilyn and Ralph had been married. In his grief, Ralph began helping Dorothy (also a young widow) around her home – bringing in trashcans, delivering groceries, and even making her house payment when times got tough. They were neighbors for 40 years and had nurtured a close relationship. But, out of respect
to Marilyn, Dorothy said they never disclosed their feelings to anyone – including one another – and only ever called each other, “friend.”

As Dorothy’s health declined she moved to a nursing home out of town. Ralph – himself battling terminal cancer – continued to check in on her empty house, but their visits became few and far between. Ralph has finally revealed his love for Dorothy to her family; she’s confided the same thing to her nurse.

“I want Ralph to be my Valentine,” Dortothy also told Dream Foundation. “He’s my favorite man in the world.”

According to Dream Foundation President and Founder, Thomas Rollerson, the opportunity for a special night out is so profound for this pair. “It’s a love story validated. And after so many years, what could be more fulfilling – and provide more closure – than that? Helping make a final dream come true for people like Dorothy is our daily inspiration.”

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