On May 12, 2014, a letter that opened with “To whom it may concern” made its way to the front office of the St. Louis Rams. The seemingly generic opening line was quickly met by words of weight and the kind of storyline that reminds you that football is far more than a game. It’s a way of life. And a man lovingly known as “Papa Joe” lives the life to prove it.
A resident of Claremont, California, Joseph has gained a reputation of being everyone’s “papa.” His nickname alone elicits feel-good imagery of a dependable man with a passionate presence and steadfast spirit, but it’s his actions that provide the means to take it from mere imagery to anecdotal proof. This is particularly true when it comes to his love for the St. Louis Rams.
Joseph’s steadfast character made him a perfect candidate to be a fan for the long haul. He has never wavered in his commitment to the Rams. Come rain or shine, nosebleed seats or bar stools, “Papa Joe” has always been there for his Rams.
Now at 71 years old, Joseph battles daily to win the fight against a life-threatening illness. Throughout the past year, the progressive nature of his condition became increasingly evident to the point he feared it could potentially be his last football season.
“That’s what started this journey,” said his daughter, Debbie Weissbuch. “When the season schedule came out, my dad indicated he thought it would be his last. That’s when I thought, ‘Okay, what can I do?’” (Read more)
Louisville basketball fan Nate Jones, 62, of Russellville, is suffering from throat cancer and had one wish, to attend the UK/UL game Saturday. The Dream Foundation made the wish come true for the Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center resident.
Jones traveled to the game with Nolly Costello, activities director, LeShanna Shirley, safety nurse, and Lori Woodward, director of social services.
The Dream Foundation is similar to the Make a Wish Foundation, but for senior citizens. Jones was diagnosed with throat cancer at the beginning of the year, and has been unable to eat, and had to have a feeding tube inserted.He has undergone chemotherapy and radiation.
According to staff members at Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Jones has remained with high spirits, smiling and interacting with residents and staff, as well as winning several medals at the Senior Olympics.
At the game on Saturday, Jones said, “I just never thought this would happen.” (Read more)
In Acadia Parish, one woman is got her wish with the help of the Dream Foundation, and a Church Point eye doctor. Of all the wishes she could have chosen, this terminally ill cancer patient only had one vision in sight.
Joann Parker is seeing the world for the first time, through a new set of eyes.
“It was happiness,” said Parker
Parker, who has a terminal form of cancer, was given the opportunity of a lifetime. Her one wish, a simple one, just a pair of glasses.
”(My glasses are) my life. Because without glasses I can’t see. So this is my life,” said Parker.
Her new outlook on life was given to her with the help of Dr. Claudette Smith-Boudreaux who worked with the Dream Foundation to make this dream come true.
“She has a new prescription and she sees wonderful and we’re very blessed that we can provide that type of eyes to the world for her,” said Smith-Boudreaux. (Read more)
Nate Jones has been a University of Louisville basketball fan since he was a boy growing up in Logan County.
“I just love them,” he said. “It was just all my life, they’re my team.”
Jones watches all the Cardinals’ games on TV at Greenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where he’s lived for four years, and has always wanted to attend a game in person. That wish came true Saturday, when he cheered on his team from the stands of the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville as it faced the University of Kentucky Wildcats. (Read more)
Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – celebrates 20 years by honoring the strength and spirit of more than 20,000 dream recipients.
To celebrate #GivingTuesday, Dream Foundation invites its communities to share their reasons for giving and help raise awareness and funds for its own mission, as well the work of other non-profits that strive tirelessly year-round to make a difference and give back to those in need. “At Dream Foundation, our staff, volunteers, donors and corporate partners know how the rewards of caring for other people can far outweigh the charge,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “During the holiday season, as we give thanks for all we have in our own lives, we are also grateful for the support from our village of dedicated volunteers, donors and partners whose efforts come together to make thousands of dreams come true every year.”
We want to know what inspires you to give this holiday season. Share your story on social media and tag #MyGivingReason (Read more)