Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Gerald Bowman’s dream to walk the decks of the battleship he called home during the Korean War—60 years since his last tour.
With a prognosis of less than one year due to advanced stage heart disease, Bowman, an 82-year- old Elkins, Arkansas resident and Korean War Veteran will take his daughter – also his consummate caregiver – on a momentous journey through history. Together they’ll travel to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to board the (DD-724) Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer where Bowman served as Machinist Mate for more than three years. The pair will receive a private tour and luncheon, as well as the opportunity to meet with the press and record an oral history ￼interview, which will be archived at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum for future generations. The USS Laffey is now a National Historic Landmark ship.
At 10 a.m., Friday, March 1, Bowman and his daughter will arrive at Patriots Point, where he’ll receive a warm welcome and participate in the following activities:
• 10:15 a.m. – Meet the acquaintance of his “Dream Hosts” for the day: Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum Public Information Officer, Ashley Smith; Patriots Point volunteer, Edgar “Hoot” Gibson, a fellow Tin Can Sailor and former crewmember aboard the USS Rich; Hardee’s® Regional Vice President, Steve Hallman; and Hardee’s® Human Resources Manager and Vietnam Veteran, Mickey Church.
• 10:30 a.m. – Board the USS Laffey and walk the decks uninterrupted. Proceed to dedicated interview area to meet with members of the press.
• 11:00 a.m. – Receive a special VIP tour of the USS Laffey, including the working and living spaces where he spent time as a crewmember.
• 12:00 p.m. – Enjoy a special private luncheon aboard the ship.
• 12:45 p.m. – Record an oral history interview.
Dream Foundation will be providing airfare for Bowman and his daughter from Fort Smith, AR to Charleston, SC, as well as financial assistance for their five-day stay. The Hampton Inn Mt. Pleasant-Patriots Point has generously donated hotel accommodations.
“We were recently watching a television special about Dad’s naval ship, the USS Laffey, and how they were docking her at Patriots Point,” Bowman’s daughter, Kim Billings, writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation. “He became so excited and started telling me stories and ￼said, ‘Oh how I would love to walk her again.’ He told me he could even show me which top bunk was his.”
According to Dream Foundation spokesperson, Erinn Lynch, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Bowman’s final wish is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share this momentous occasion with Hardee’s® and our national dream host volunteers.”
Bowman had served in the United States Navy from 1950-1954. Upon being recruited, he reported to San Diego, where the USS Laffey sat in a dry dock shipyard and his task was to assist in repairing the damage it had sustained during World War II. Two months later, he accompanied the battleship out to sea, where his service included three tours in Korea.
“Part of our mission at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is to honor the brave men and women who have answered our nation’s call—heroes like Mr. Bowman,” said Patriots Point Executive Director, Mac Burdette. “Through our efforts each day, we are working to educate visitors about the service and sacrifice of our veterans and we are keeping their stories alive. It is our distinct honor to welcome Mr. Bowman back aboard his beloved ship, the USS Laffey; and we are proud to partner with Dream Foundation and the Stars for HeroesTM program in this endeavor.”
As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in Santa Barbara, the organization works with its corporate “Partners in Dreams” and affiliated volunteers to ensure dream experiences maintain a personal touch and sense of community. CKE Restaurants, Inc.—parent company of Carol’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® brands—has been a longtime partner with Dream Foundation and pledges additional support to serve the final dreams of U.S. veterans as part of their Stars for HeroesTM campaign.
“As part of our ongoing effort to support a cause that is important to our customers, employees and franchisees, it’s our pleasure to partner with Dream Foundation through our Stars for
￼HeroesTM fundraising campaign to help rally behind our nation’s veterans and fulfill their final dreams,” said Jenna Petroff, public relations and social media manager for Hardee’s® and Stars for HeroesTM program administrator. “We’re honored Dream Foundation chose us to present Gerald with his dream package at his home in Arkansas, as well as accompany him on his tour of the USS Laffey. Our franchisees and employees are excited to celebrate this dream with him.”
According to Dream Foundation, the CKE Restaurants, Inc. partnership not only helps fund the veteran segment of their dream service demographic, it enhances the experience for the dreamer and all who are involved.
Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill lifelong 49ers fan, Felix Vargas’, final wish for the ultimate San Francisco 49ers experience. The Richmond, CA resident – who grew up the sole football lover in a family of soccer enthusiasts – will be present at the NFC Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers 5 p.m., Saturday, January 12.
Vargas, 22, has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents. He received his diagnosis at 17. Now, five years later, he is coping with the additional diagnosis of lung cancer. As his illness has progressed, Vargas has “refused to let it bring me down,” he writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation.
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Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Dominic Henriquez’ final wish to continue his college coursework in Computer-Aided Drafting (C.A.D.) from home, regardless of having had to take a leave of absence due to his illness.
At 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 5th, Dream Foundation volunteers from the Los Angeles- and Amsterdam-based company, 72andSunny – a Dream Foundation corporate Partner in Dreams – will arrive at Henriquez’ home, presenting him with the Hewlett Packard computer he needs for his studies. To enhance the delivery of this dream, the volunteers will also surprise him with a pizza dinner, and gifts supporting his passions for photography, music and movies. Dominic’s mother and three younger brothers will also receive gifts they’re not expecting. Press is invited to cover this dream delivery.
Henriquez has been diagnosed with end-stage brain cancer and given a prognosis of six months or less.
“This has changed my life from a good dream to a nightmare,” he writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation, while maintaining a determined response to this tragedy. Considering regular hospital visits, limited mobility, strained vision and fatigue he acknowledges it would be easy to neglect his scholastic pursuits all together, but instead continues, “I’m not gonna let this battle stop me from my dream!”
Obtaining a home computer was essential, but due to mounting medical costs and other financial constraints, it never would have happened without the assistance of Dream Foundation.
“Dominic should serve as an inspiration to all students,” says Dream Foundation Director of Communications, Erinn Lynch. “His drive to continue learning despite his terminal prognosis is a beautiful reminder of the gift of knowledge and education.”
Henriquez’ Westech College instructor, Nestor Terrill, has inserted himself as a mentor figure, allowing the student to continue the coursework at his own pace, and making himself available for submission of assignments by email, and by Skype, phone – or even in person – for any other assistance.
Terrill will assist Henriquez with setting up his computer at home.
Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Charles Huizar’s final wish to visit Fallingwater, a famous home built over a waterfall that was designed by esteemed architect and Huizar’s personal hero, Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater is largely considered Wright’s most celebrated work, and is now a National Historic Landmark.
At 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 19, Huizar, his mother and sister will be hosted at Fallingwater, in Mill Run, PA, where they will receive a private tour of the home and grounds.
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Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation, the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness, will fulfill Michael “Mack” McCarthy’s final wish to reunite with those he has mentored over the years as they have collectively fought a disease that soon will take his life.
With a prognosis of fewer than six months due to advanced-stage pulmonary hypertension (PH), McCarthy, a 57-year-old El Mirage, Arizona resident and leader in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), will be attending the group’s biennial conference June 22-24 in Orlando – having received a scholarship enabling him to go. Dream Foundation will procure admission, airfare and hotel accommodations for McCarthy’s wife so that she may attend, too.
“I need my wife to come with me as I say my goodbyes to all my friends and peers that have walked this disease with me,” McCarthy writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation. “She has supported me with all the care and love she can muster. She is my sunshine who comforts me.” The couple has been married 35 years.
McCarthy is an active leader in PHA. Together with his wife he has founded a support group in his community, provided encouragement to patients through PHA’s online chat group as a chat group leader, contacted the media to raise awareness about the disease, and written his congressman to advocate for the PH research and education bill currently in Congress.
Pulmonary hypertension is an underdiagnosed, chronic lung disorder characterized by continuous high blood pressure in the artery between the heart and lungs. PH patients often have difficulty breathing. Short walks may leave these patients exhausted, and simple activities such as getting dressed or cleaning house can become challenging.
“PHA believes that patients with this illness have the right to fight back as much as interest and health allow,” says PHA President, Rino Aldrighetti. “Mack McCarthy is a prime example of that spirit. He is a hero. People who have gone through highly challenging experiences – such as living with PH – form an extraordinarily strong bond. Mack’s wish to be among other patients at this point in his life is a moving illustration of the deep fulfillment PH patients find in giving support to one another.”
McCarthy has immersed himself into the world of PH to help “release some of the physical and emotional torment that occur to him daily,” his social worker says, adding that his sole mission is to do everything he can to help others with the disease. “This trip is his way of saying goodbye to the community that he considers family.”
“Even in his final dream Mack is working to create awareness around pulmonary hypertension so that others may benefit from a cure,” says Dream Foundation Director of Communications, Erinn Lynch. “We are honored to serve Mack’s dream so that he and his wife may find closure with a group of people that have given him so much support.”