The Dream Foundation held its 14th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala at Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta, an event featuring unparalleled entertainment, heartfelt dream stories, and attracted a national audience of celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters.
The foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illnesses.
Entertainers included country/American musician Natalie Noone — daughter ofHerman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone, and Dream Foundation supporter and event co-chairwoman, Mireille Noone. Raised in Santa Barbara, Natalie Noone has also been a Dream Foundation volunteer.
Giving a more classical performance was 15-year-old Sara Stevens, who has been training since the age of 6 and is currently working with Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera musical director Paul Schwartz on an album.
O.A.R. (Of A Revolution), founded in 1996 by high school classmates in Rockville, Md., also performed American rock, much to the delight of guests.
After a pleasant social hour, guests participated in a live auction hosted by Andrew Firestone, Santa Barbara businessman and alum of ABC’s The Bachelor, with his wife, Ivana.
Featured live auction packages included an “After- Noone with Peter Noone,” a private concert for 100 given by Noone; “Two Tickets to Paradise” package including four nights in New Zealand and three nights in Fiji; a five- star meal at one of Los Angeles’ favorite eateries Little Dom’s.
The silent auction boasted more than 70 items, including signed Kobe Bryant game sneakers.
The lovely Priscilla Presley, Dream Foundation ambassador and gala co-chairwoman, told Noozhawk about her longtime dedication to the nonprofit organization.
“I have learned so much visiting with Dream recipients,” she said. “I have sat, talked, shared and played with these recipients, and have gained for myself as well strength and a greater appreciation of life.”
Dedicated to celebrating the more than 22,000 dream recipients the foundation has served since its inception in 1994, the event also included heartfelt testimonials from three recent dream families, the Malones from Arizona, the Hoods from California, and Tara Middleton from South Carolina.
Sheri and Jimmy Malone are the wife and son of 55- year-old James Malone, who died in June, just one day before realizing his dream of visiting Washington, D.C.
A Navy veteran who served from 1977 to 1981, Malone was honorably discharged as a disbursing clerk second class. The Dream Foundation was honored to have the Malones attend the public launch of its newest program, Dreams for Veterans, on Capitol Hill last month.
The Dream Foundation also welcomed dream recipient William Hood and his wife, Ellen. With a life expectancy of six to 12 months due to cancer, Hood received his dream last month when he and his family, including daughter Madeline, 14, and son Robert, 10, attended a San Francisco Giants game.
Middleton, 32, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last year, continues to fight for her life. Her final dream was fulfilled when she met her idol, Tamar Braxton, and appeared on her talk show, The Real.
Middleton continues to thrive as the founder and CEO of Rare Rubies, an organization that focuses on life coaching, consulting and motivational speaking.
“Dream Foundation is privileged to have such a generous, national network of supporters, corporate and in-kind partners, and volunteers who support the fulfillment of thousands of dreams each year,” Dream Foundation executive director Kisa Heyer said.
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Ray West stands during a Veterans Day observance Wednesday at The Samarkand retirement community.
A World War II veteran whose dream vacation was brought to life by a Santa Barbara nonprofit is urging other veterans to take advantage of the end-of-life program.
Former Petty Officer 3rd Class Raymond West, 90, and his wife, Jean, were provided a trip to Yosemite National Park by the Dream Foundation in May.
The Dream Foundation fulfills dreams for terminally ill adults with a life expectancy of 12 months or less. Mr. West was one of the inaugural members of the foundation’s Dreams for Veterans Program.
Kisa Heyer, executive director of the Dream Foundation, said the organization has provided dreams for more than 700 veterans from World War II through the post-9/11 conflicts. The foundation’s new veterans program has provided 115 dreams so far.
“All I can say is every veteran should be able to take advantage of the opportunity I had through the Dream Foundation,” said Mr. West after a Veterans Day event at The Samarkand retirement community in Santa Barbara.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Ray West is pictured during his World War II service.
“It’s a connection that most veterans may not know about.”
“I didn’t like the word hospice, but I realized there was so much available to us. You should accept and embrace what is offered to you because it enriches your life,” she said, adding that her husband is doing well after a nearly a year of hospice care.
Mr. West joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 17 and served for three years at an ammunition depot in Nevada.
“I was in the Navy, but they shipped me to the desert,” he laughed, explaining that he would package ammunition for shipment to ports in San Francisco and Oakland. From there the artillery rounds and other ammunition would be sent to battlefronts all over the world.
After leaving the Navy, Mr. West became a movie audio mixer in Hollywood. The Detroit native won an Oscar for his audio work on the movie “Star Wars” in 1979.
Mr. and Mrs. West were married in 1950 and moved to Oakhurst after Mr. West’s retirement from the movie industry.
Ray West and his family enjoy the trip to Yosemite National Park provided by the Dream Foundation. From left are his son, David; Mr. West; his wife, Jean; and daughter-in-law Victoria.
“We went to Yosemite on our honeymoon and we have been to there every year at one time or another for the rest of our married life,” said Ms. West.
The couple have missed the annual trip only once in their 65-year marriage.
When the Dream Foundation asked him what he wanted to do for his dream, the answer was obvious, Mr. West said.
“My original dream was that I visit Yosemite National Park one last time. It was just wonderful wish that came true for me, to be back in the park where we had spent a lot of time.”
Mrs. West said she thought it was a death sentence when her husband was admitted into hospice care in December following a diagnosis of chronic lymphetic lukemia, but quickly discovered the Dream Foundation and other programs that catered to those with end-of-life needs.
PAUL GONZALEZ, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Dream Foundation in honor of Veterans Day releases list of specific dream requests in order of most often received
According to Dreams for Veterans, a program created in 2014 by the Dream Foundation to serve terminally ill veterans through the fulfillment of a final dream, the most common requests received include assistance with obtaining basic items intended to meet the veteran’s day-to-day needs, as well as facilitating fun family outings or gatherings. The following is a list of specific dream requests in order of most often received:
- Basic needs items (i.e. a working appliance, wheelchair ramp, hearing aid batteries or payment of a utility bill)
- Vacation with loved ones
- Family reunion
- Trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World
- Day out on the town
Other leading veterans’ dream requests include attending a sporting event or meeting a personal hero, such as a celebrity, professional athlete or well-known musician. Many dreams served through Dreams for Veterans include tailored elements intended to recognize these individuals’ former service and reconcile memories.
Dreams for Veterans program recipients are U.S. military veterans 18 years of age and over with a life expectancy of 12 months or less due to a terminal illness. Dream Foundation has served the final dreams of more than 700 veterans since its inception in 1994.
With no state or federal funding, Dream Foundation relies on a network of volunteers, sponsors and individual donors to support the work they do. For more information on Dreams for Veterans and to help serve final dreams for those who have served, visit dreamsforveterans.org.
About Dream Foundation The only national dream-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families facing terminal illness. Dream recipients are those individuals who have been given a year or less life expectancy. Dreams range from basic needs items, like a working stove, to bedside reunions and meaningful experiences with children and loved ones. Founded in 1994, Dream Foundation serves more than 2,500 dreams each year and relies on a network of volunteers, sponsors and individual donors. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org.
About Dreams for Veterans Dreams for Veterans is a program of Dream Foundation. Its mission is to serve those who have served by giving back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream. Having learned the importance of acknowledging veterans, honoring their service and sharing their personal stories, Dream Foundation created Dreams for Veterans in 2014 to effectively tailor the dream experience to veterans and their families. Dream recipients are U.S. military veterans 18 and over with a life expectancy of 12 months or less. For more information, visit dreamsforveterans.org.
The Dream Foundation’s 14th annual Celebration of Dreams Gala, a red carpet event hosted Saturday night at the Bacara Resort & Spa, featured high profile guests, musical entertainment and live and silent auctions.
The philanthropic celebration staged musical performances by 15-year-old classical prodigy Sara Stevens, American rock band O.A.R. and musician Natalie Noone, a Santa Barbara-native and daughter of Herman’s Hermits frontman Peter Noone.
Featured live auction packages included everything from an “After-Noone with Peter Noone,” a private concert by Peter Noone for 100 lucky guests, to an opportunity to attend a taping of NBC’s hit television show, “The Voice,” with a meet-and-greet with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
The event also held a silent auction with more than 70 items.
The Dreams Gala saluted the many corporate founding partners of the newly launched Dreams for Veterans, a national program that honors American veterans during their end-of- life journey with the realization of a dream.
The event aimed to raise funds for terminally ill adults and families, such as three recent Dream Foundation families who shared their heartfelt testimonials, including the Malones from Arizona, the Hoods from California andTara Middleton from South Carolina.
The foundation has brought dreams to life for more than 22,000 recipients since its inception in 1994.
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A gala celebrating the dreams of adults who are 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)