I have only been handicapped for the last two of my 54 years.
As my degenerative neuron disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) marches relentlessly forward, I’ve had to be a quick study in wheelchair restrictions and regulations. Blah! After a recent journey to California, though, I came back with an attitude: These wheels rock!
I received the trip through the Dream Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for adults with life-limiting illnesses. My desire was to watch a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Her saucy optimism and humor is the perfect medicine for me.
My nurse-friend Stacie and friend Vicky began the process in April. After a flurry of paperwork, phone calls and months of waiting, my dream began to unfurl. We traveled to Cleveland, where I had to relinquish my wheelchair and attached computer — my arms, legs and voice. I can no longer speak after undergoing a tracheostomy in January. I communicate solely through my computer, where the cursor is moved by my eyes.
My wheelchair, worth a small car, was chucked beneath the plane while I was wheeled on with a chair designed to fit the narrow plane aisles. I silently blessed my 100-pound frame as airplane employees strapped me on to a seat barely a foot wide.
You’re walking down the street when a passerby’s accessory catches your eye. It’s a saddle-brown leather wrap with a turquoise-hued bead and a small wishbone charm. What you may consider to be a fashion statement is actually also helping people everywhere with incurable diseases fulfill their dreams.
That bracelet is part of the Dream Foundation’sDREAM FOR 21 bracelet campaign, a fundraising campaign that hopes to provide final dreams for 21 individuals, a donation equal to $21,000. Now in its second year, the concept for DREAM FOR 21 was originally created by a 20-year-old named Austin Spivey, who hoped to honor the loss of a friend by selling bracelets and putting the money towards others’ dreams. For 2012-2013, the bracelet was designed by 21-year-old Annabelle Martin, who dreams of seeing another 21 dreams fulfilled during her 21st year of life. Last year, $36,000 was raised by Austin’s bracelets.
Kym, 44, of Greenbelt, Maryland has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and has received a prognosis of one year or less. Her dream is to take her children to Orlando, where they can visit Disney World and other area theme parks.
A single mother, Kym has relied on the caretaking abilities of her 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. The trip is her chance to treat her children to an unforgettable vacation, allowing them to reclaim some of their childhood that has been lost due to her illness. She can’t wait to see their faces light up at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Dream Foundation has granted this wish!
Kym and her family will be in Orlando for five days at the beginning of September, where they will visit Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Sea World Orlando.
A Wilkins Township man with stage 4 prostate cancer is planning for the inevitable in a very unique way.
Tony Guarino received his diagnosis four years ago. Now, his love for bowling is part of his dying wish. When the time comes, Tony will use as an urn the ball with which he bowled his only 300 game. The ball was customized so that his wife can place his ashes inside.
“I’ve been bowling for 44 years. When I was 4, my grandfather used to take me up to my uncle’s place,” Tony told Channel 11 News.