Terminally Ill Man’s Dream Fulfilled with Return to Pearl Harbor

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 10.06.58 AMA decorated Navy veteran is getting his dream fulfilled with a trip to Pearl Harbor.

Milwaukee resident Charles Rushing was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. His dying wish was to return to Pearl Harbor to relive memories while he was stationed there in the 1970s. That wish was granted thanks to the Dream Foundation, who made him a VIP at Friday’s Medal of Honor dedication ceremony.

“I’m glad I’m back,” Rushing said, “especially being from Wisconsin, where they’re freezing. … I’m very thankful I got this opportunity to come back.”

Rushing volunteered for serve in the U.S. Navy when he was 17. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor where he guarded aircraft carriers, until he was called upon to assist the downed Apollo 11 space capsule. He went on to serve on the USS Carpenter, then served in special ops before deploying to Vietnam. (Read more…)

Vietnam Veteran Granted Final Dream in Florida

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.05.55 PMSitting comfortably in his bed Thursday morning, 66-year-old John Trask was granted his “last wish” to see his daughter and three grandchildren visit him in New Smyrna Beach.

Thanks to the Dream Foundation, a national nonprofit that fulfills the wishes of terminally ill adults and their families, Trask’s daughter Jennifer and her children were given plane tickets to fly into Florida Thursday evening from where they live in Maine. Trask is a veteran, so the foundation asked the Edgewater-New Smyrna AMVETS Post 2 Honor Guard to present him with his family’s plane itinerary. Honor Guard members Elisha Vaissiere, Ron Folmsbee, George Schramm, Chris Wilkes and Bob Lariviere did the honors.

“Outstanding,” Trask said as he was given his wish.

Trask was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2003, and he has spent the past 13 years fighting it off. Now on hospice, Trask spends his days at his New Smyrna home with his wife Diane and two dachshunds. Trask served in the Vietnam War in 1969 and 1970 in the 82nd Airborne Division. (Read more…)

A Sturgeon Bay Woman is Living her Life and Enjoying a Dream with her Family

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.00.13 AMA Sturgeon Bay woman who has been told she has less than a year to live was presented with a trip to Disney World Friday at the Golden Living Center-Dorchester in Sturgeon Bay.

Jodi (Pierzchalski) Georgenson, 40, has stage 4 metastatic melanoma and last fall she was told she had six to 12 months to live. Georgenson is the director of rehabilitation and a speech therapist for Aegis Therapies, a branch of Golden Living. She and her husband, Steve, have two children, Lola, 4, and Luke, 2. Georgenson was profiled in an October Door County Advocate story about a fundraiser Golden Living was having to help her complete a bucket list and pay for medical costs.

Georgenson has been living life to the fullest since she received the news. She applied to the Dream Foundation – an organization that grants wishes for adults with terminal illnesses who have a year or less to live – after deciding to take her kids to Disney World.

“My dream was to see my children’s faces at Disney in Florida,” she said.

Dream Foundation is covering the cost of up to four family members, flights, lodging, and tickets to Disney World and Sea World. They leave Feb. 15 and will be gone through the 19th.

Georgenson learned a few weeks ago that the Dream Foundation would grant her wish. About a week later the organization also sent a large box of gifts to Lola and Luke. (Read more…)

Accessibility Aids in the Life of Former Hospice Patient

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 8.50.32 AMGrowth in technology has reached all walks of life, easing the completion of nearly all daily tasks for many Americans. For Michael Leonard, though, recent access to a new computer program has not just aided in daily life, it has enabled a life that might otherwise be impossible. Leonard, 52, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 30 and

Fortunately for Leonard, though, he found himself relying less and less on Owen’s care during the summer months, often using her visits as friendly conversations rather than patient services. With his pain and symptoms so well-managed, Leonard said Owen often asked what she could do to help in any way.

“She was at my house one day,” Leonard said, “and we were just talking and she said something along the lines of ‘I just don’t feel like I’m doing too much for you. If I could do anything for you, what would it be?’ And I just told her, ‘Get me a nice laptop computer.’ I didn’t mean it very seriously. She said say anything so I said anything.”

Owen took the idea and ran with it. Through her work with hospice, Owen knew a grant could be possible for Leonard and his request. Dream Foundation, a national dream-granting organization for adults, seemed like a perfect fit.

“They have separate (applications) for hospice patients that they will expedite the process for,” Owen said. Because Leonard was still under hospice care at the time, he could quickly become a grant candidate.

“I had to write a letter to go along with (the application) so I collaborated with Michael on it and typed most it out for him and let him read it and sign it. Just kind of telling a story of how we felt like the computer would benefit him and improve his ability to socialize and lessen his isolation.”

Fast forward four months and Leonard was granted his wish: a brand new laptop with voice recognition software thanks to the installation of Nuance Communications Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Leonard now enjoys full capability of the computer using a headset to communicate with the computer to run different programs.

“It’s really remarkable,” Leonard said, joking that the program even asks for your specific accent upon installation. He chose the southern accent, of course. (Read more…)

 

Nurses Grant Patient’s Christmas Wish in Lexington

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 2.00.20 PMLEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Some nurses at UK Hospital are bringing Christmas to a very special patient.

Mickey Mills has been hospitalized since Christmas Eve, 2014. He is waiting on a heart transplant, and his nurses don’t know if he’ll make it home in time for Christmas.

“We have obviously the Christmas tree, and then we have lots of little ornaments everywhere, lots of little nick knacks, Christmas cookies. We have candy canes. We have just about anything and everything you can think of that would make it look like Christmas,” notes Jennifer Jones, an RN in the Cardiovascular ICU. Jones and fellow nurse Joy Coles brought Christmas to a conference room for their patient, Mills.

“Mickey is the quintessential, hard- working American blue collar man,” describes Jones.

Coles calls him, “good ol’ fashioned, down home, Kentucky home good folk.” Last Christmas, Mills entered UK Hospital.

“We noticed that Mr. Mills wasn’t able to get in the holiday spirit,” says Coles. This year, Coles and Jones decided to bring Christmas to Mills. They decorated a conference room for him, and brought in his family, including a grandson he’s never met.

The Dream Foundation helped make Mickey’s Christmas wish come true. They provided all transportation and housing for the Mills family for the weekend. (Read more…)

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