Dream Foundation Launches Dreams for Veterans Program

A gala celebrating the dreams of adults who aScreen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.00.16 AMre terminally ill will be taking place this weekend.

Bacara Resort and Spa will be transformed Saturday night, as celebrities and guests enjoy a night of heart-warming stories, live entertainment and great food. This year the Dreams Foundation added a new program called, Dreams For Veterans. It’s goal is to serve and honor more than 200 terminally ill veterans in 2016.

“We have actually been serving veterans throughout our 21-year history. We have served about 600. We realized there was a need to develop a specific sub-program really to address their needs and honor their service,” said Dream Foundation executive director Kisa Heyer.

Ray West is an 89-year old leukemia and heart disease patient, and a U.S. Navy Veteran. He recently had his wish

granted through the new Dreams for Veterans program. NewsChannel 3 reporter Kelsey Gerckens sat down with him, to share his story on how the Dream Foundation made his final dreams come true.

“How old am I, I am older than dirt actually,” said West.

Ray West has accomplished a lot in his life

“This is my dear wife that I have loved and adored for 65 years, and I don’t know what I would do without her,” said West.

“I chased him actually. He was reluctant to commit and I went ahead and order the invitations and said you better show up and he did. And we have been together ever since, through thick and thin,” said Jean West.

The sound editor even won an Academy Award for his work on the original “Star Wars” film.

“It is an accomplishment that I am proud of and there is not that¬†many people that can be in a possession to win it, or even possess it,” said Ray West.

But in the last few years, the 89-year-old’s health has declined

“He has had cancer since 1985. It is leukemia, but it is not fast moving. In recent years he has had congestive heart failure. His doctor is amazed that he is still here, but he has determination and wants to live,” said Jean West.

That’s when the Dream Foundation decided to step in and granted his dream of being able to visit Yosemite one final time with his family.

“We sent them to Yosemite. They stayed at a cabin that had very special meaning with the location. We provided meals at the nearby hotel which they had visited for years and years, and I think it was really a wonderful time for them to develop memories as well as create closure around that special experience for them,” said Heyer.

“Of course, we love Yosemite and we could not have afforded to go there on our own. It was just a funny thing. A real moving thing,” said Jean West.

But the Dream Foundation didn’t end there. They also sent West and his son to Washington, D.C., so he could participate in the official launch of the Dream Foundations’ new Dreams For Veterans program.

“I had never been there and never anticipated that I would be able to financially go to that place and see the monuments. Almost an experience that you can’t verbalize”, said Ray West. (Read more)

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