Dream FAQ

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations, and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to nearly 25,000 final Dreams over the past two decades, and has never turned down a qualified request.

What is a Dream?

  • Dream request must come from a terminally-ill adult.
  • Dream applicant must be able to communicate the dream and comprehend/participate actively in the Dream experience.
  • Dreams can be small (a dinner out with the family, a computer), elaborate (vacation at the Orlando theme parks, travel to the Grand Canyon), or improve quality of life (lift chair, scooter, TV).
  • For more examples, please visit our website www.dreamfoundation.org/dreams
  • We do not cover funeral expenses or posthumous requests.
  • Please also read what Dreams we are unable to grant on the cover page of the application.

Do I need to be a hospice patient to receive a Dream?

  • No. We have a hospice application for hospice patients, and a general application for patients still pursuing active treatment.

Does it matter where I live in order to get a Dream fulfilled?

  • You must live in the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska).
  • You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen, but must currently reside in the U.S.

Who can be part of my Dream?

  • The Dream can include Dream applicant, one other adult as a caregiver, as well as children under 18 that live in the applicant’s home.
  • An additional caregiver will be accommodated at the doctor’s request for medical reasons only.
  • Caregiver does not have to be a family member.
  • Additional people would be responsible for their own trip planning/cost.

What is an emergency Dream?

  • If the life expectancy of the applicant is two months or less, we consider the Dream to be an emergency. These requests can be faxed in, but the original application must still be mailed. Please call Dream Foundation at 888-4DREAMS for the fax number.
  • Emergency Dreams are processed the day we receive them and verified as soon as possible.
  • If an emergency Dream is for a bedside reunion or similar request, we are usually able to fulfill those within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Emergency Dreams can not be celebrity Dreams.
  • If an emergency Dream requires travel by the applicant, we will require a doctor’s approval. Such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and must meet approval of our medical review board. Dream applicants are responsible for any medical emergencies that arise during the Dream.

If I want to visit family or have family sent to visit me, how long can I/they stay and how many family members can be included?

  • As long as you can stay with family or family can stay with you, there is no time limit.
  • If you or your family need hotel accommodations, we can only provide 3-4 nights and only one hotel room.
  • If we bring family to you, we will be able to provide 2-3 airline tickets or gas money for one vehicle.
  • If you travel to visit family, we provide transportation for you, your caregiver, and children under 18 who live with you.

What is included in a travel Dream?

  • Typically, we provide economy class air transportation or the cost of gas, as well as accommodations (one hotel room/family room only).
  • Amusement park admission
  • Financial assistance to help with cost of meals/rental car if budget allows
  • We provide travel within the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska) based on your location and at our discretion.
  • On a case-by-case basis, we may be able to help with the cost of a one-way ticket home outside of the U.S.

What do I need to be able to travel?

  • If your Dream request requires travel, you need a major credit card or debit card with enough funds to cover any unforeseen expenses, such as the cost associated with a hospital stay, and to get you home in case of an emergency. We do not ask for your credit card number.
  • If your Dream request includes a hotel stay, you will need a credit card at check-in to cover incidentals. If using a debit card for hotel check-in, please be aware that a hold will be put on the card from the hotel. Often, the blocked funds will not be released until about a week after your stay.
  • You need a valid government issued picture ID.
  • Your doctor needs to approve your travel. We will fax additional paperwork to your doctor to best assess your medical needs and ensure that you are able to travel.
  • Ground transportation to and from the airport and renting a vehicle will be the responsibility of the Dream recipient.

What if I want to meet a celebrity?

  • Celebrity Dreams are difficult to coordinate, and may take many months to coordinate.
  • Dream recipients must be able to travel to meet the celebrity and must meet our travel requirements (see above).
  • In order for the meeting to be a good experience for both sides, we ask that if you apply to meet a celebrity, you are able to communicate with him/her. Before beginning a celebrity dream request, we will have a trained volunteer meet you so that we may learn more about you and why meeting this celebrity is important.

I do not file taxes, can I still apply? What’s the income limit to qualify?

  • If you don’t file taxes, just let us know about it and if you can, include a supplemental security income (SSI), disability statement or a bank statement.
  • There is no income limit, but we want to help those in the greatest of need that are unable to fulfill their Dream on their own. We make decisions on Dream applications on a case-by-case basis. We take into consideration taxable income, how many people live in the household, geographic location, and any financial hardship. If someone wants to meet a celebrity, then lack of financial means may not be the issue, but instead assistance in making that connection.

How long does it take until I get my Dream?

  • It takes about three weeks to process the application before we begin with the verification process.
  • Verification will take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the response time of your medical team/doctor.
  • Once the Dream is approved, please allow about three weeks to arrange for air travel, as flights get more expensive the closer to the desired date they are booked.
  • We process emergency Dream requests the day we receive them, and we verify those as soon as possible.
  • While we will do our best to start working on your dream as soon as possible, we cannot rush your request for reasons other than medical necessity.

What if I have special medical needs?

  • We are unable to assist with medical needs, such as ambulance transportation, oxygen, medical equipment, nurses and aides, dialysis, etc.
  • We are unable to arrange or provide hospice care away from home, dialysis treatments or arrange for your oxygen needs.
  • Dream recipients are responsible for any medical emergency during the Dream.

What if I want dentures?

  • We will do our best to find a dentist that will work with us to provide dentures for you. However, we will only be able to help if there are no teeth left, as pulling teeth is considered a medical procedure.

Completing the application…

  • Anyone can fill out the application, but the Dream applicant (or if the applicant is unable to sign, his power of attorney) must sign it to ensure this is the patient’s request.
  • Anyone can write the Dream letter, as long as it reflects the applicant’s Dream.
  • The applicant must able to communicate their Dream, so if a patient is unconscious or unresponsive, they do not qualify for a Dream.
  • If you had a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation as a child, please provide us with what your wish was and when you received it so we can determine your eligibility.
  • If your doctor will not provide the information in Step 4 or provide a life expectancy, send the application in anyway. As long as your diagnosis is provided, we will try to work with you and your doctor to determine your eligibility.
  • Should you do not qualify for a Dream based on the life expectancy listed by your doctor, you may apply again at a later time. We will keep your application for one year and would only need the medical information on the application resubmitted within that time frame.
  • If you don’t want to know what life expectancy your doctor notes in Step 4, Medical Information, the doctor can mail or fax that page separately. Please call Dream Foundation at 888-4DREAMS for our fax number.
  • The original application must be mailed to Dream Foundation, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 or submitted online.
  • We accept faxed applications for emergency requests only. Should the patient’s life expectancy only be a few days or up to two months, you can call Dream Foundation at 888-4DREAMS for our fax number, but the original must still be mailed.