Dream FAQ

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally ill adults and their families. From our headquarters in Santa Barbara, and with a network of volunteers and supporters, we serve those in the greatest need around the country. We receive no state or federal funding, relying instead on the generosity of our supporters to fulfill dream requests.

What is a dream from the heart?

  • Dream must come from a terminally ill adult
  • Dream applicant must be able to communicate the dream and comprehend/participate 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 the 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 have to live within the contiguous United States, Hawaii or Alaska
  • You don’t have to be a US citizen, but need to currently reside in the US

Who can be part of my dream?

  • The dream will be for the dream applicant, one other adult as a caregiver, as well as your children under 18 that live in your 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 still needs to be mailed. Please call us for our fax number
  • Emergency dreams get processed the day we receive them and verified ASAP
  • If an emergency dream is for a bedside reunion or similar, our turnaround time can happen within 24 to 48 hours
  • Emergency dreams can not be celebrity dreams
  • If an emergency dream requires travel by the applicant, we will be very careful to verify it with your doctor for approval. Such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and must meet approval of our review board. Should the dream recipient pass away while on their dream, Dream Foundation will be unable to help in any way.

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 cover 3-4 nights and one hotel room only
  • If we bring family to you, we will be able to cover 2-3 tickets if they are flying, or gas money for one vehicle
  • If you go to visit family, we will include you, your caregiver and your children under 18 who live with you

What is included in a travel dream?

  • Typically, we cover air transportation (Economy class only) or the cost of gas, as well as accommodations (one hotel room/family room only)
  • Park passes
  • Financial assistance to help with cost of meals/rental car if budget allows
  • We provide travel within the USA, 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 the US if that is the dream

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 make sure that you are cleared for 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?

  • Celebrities are hard to reach and they are very busy people. For that reason, it can take many months to arrange for a meet and greet
  • Celebrities do not make house calls, so you have to be able to travel to the concert/event that the celebrity is at in order to meet her/him and still meet our travel requirements (see above)
  • In order for a meet and greet 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 so important to you

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 an 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 do so on their own. We look at each application individually. We look at the taxable income, take into consideration how many people live in the household, geographic location, and also check if the letter talks about financial hardship. Also, 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 get the application processed 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 we start working on the dream, please allow about three weeks to arrange for air travel, as flights get more expensive the closer to the desired date they are booked
  • Emergency dream requests get processed the day we receive them and verified ASAP
  • While we will do our best to start working on your dream as soon as possible, we can not
    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 aids, dialysis, etc.
  • We are unable to arrange or provide hospice care away from home, dialysis treatments or arrange for your oxygen needs
  • Should you have a medical emergency during your dream, we are unable to assist in any way.

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

Filling out the application…

  • Anyone can fill out the application, but the dream applicant (or if the applicant is unable to sign, his power of attorney) has to sign it. We need to make sure that this is the patient’s dream, not someone else’s for the patient
  • Anyone can write the dream letter, as long as it reflects the applicant’s dream
  • The applicant has to be able to communicate his/her dream, so if a patient is unconscious or unresponsive, we are not able to help
  • If you had a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation as a child, we need to know when that was and what your wish was, in order to determine your eligibility at this time
  • If your doctor does not want to fill out Step 4 or does not want to put down a life expectancy, send the application in anyway. As long as the diagnosis is there, we will try to work with your doctor to find out if you qualify for our program or not
  • Should you get denied based on the life expectancy that your doctor put on the application, feel free to have the doctor fill out Step 4 again at a later time. We will keep your application for a year and would only need the medical part resubmitted within that time frame
  • If you don’t want to know what life expectancy the doctor puts in Step 4, Medical Information, feel free to have the doctor mail or fax that page in separately. Please call us for our fax number, should you wish to do that.
  • The original application has to mailed to Dream Foundation, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • We do accept faxed applications for emergencies only. Should the patient’s life expectancy only be a few days or up to two months, you can call our office for the fax number to send the application in that way. We do still need the original mailed in; so don’t forget to put that in the mail after faxing