SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. – DREAM FOUNDATION is proud to announce that it has received a $6000.00 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 79 grants totaling over $575,704 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,700 grants totaling over $20 million since 1999.
Dream Foundation will utilize the grant to fulfill final Dreams for those with ALS within both its Dream Granting program and its Dreams for Veterans program.
“We are honored to receive such a gracious award from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kisa Heyer. “These funds will help fulfill end-of-life Dreams for our Dreamers with ALS. Many Dreams are as simple as paying a heating bill to relieve financial stress or covering weekly massages to relieve the physical stress of the disease. We are thankful to the foundation for their generous contribution and excited about our new relationship.”
Featured in White Fish Pilot
Dream Foundation teamed up with San Diego natives Courtney Laabs and Brooke Rinehart to raise $50,000 to fulfill 30 Dreams. In August, Rinehart completed the Ironman Coeur d’ Alene while Laabs cheered her on for what has become known as Iron Dreams. For more than 10 years, Laabs had wanted to compete in an Ironman competition after her first attempt was cut short when her mother, Lori died within a year of being diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma at the age of 51. Laabs initially began training in an effort to cope with her grief. As fate would have it, weeks prior to the Ironman Coeur d’ Alene, Laabs learned that she would be a mother herself. After she’d been told it was medically impossible for her to get pregnant, she and her husband, Kelly planned to meet with a fertility specialist after the race.
“It’s bittersweet for me,” she said. “My goal of accomplishing an Ironman is still alive, I’ll just be doing it with my child watching me. It’s just amazing how the world works.”
Santa Barbara, Calif.— While on the campaign trail this week in California, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with 45-year-old John Pecoraro from Scotts Valley, Calif. Pecoraro, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 and Lyme disease in 2015, asked Dream Foundation to help him meet Secretary Clinton to share his story and hope for a cure. Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults.
“I want to meet the potential future President of the United States,” Pecoraro told Dream Foundation.
Pecoraro’s Dream came true when he and Clinton had the opportunity to meet about raising awareness for ALS and Lyme disease. Pecoraro is determined to spend the rest of his life raising awareness, helping others with ALS and Lyme disease, and sharing his story with those who can be influential in the fight against these debilitating diseases.
“We are grateful to Secretary Clinton for helping give life to John’s final Dream,” said Dream Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer who was also in attendance at the meeting. “At Dream Foundation we are passionate about helping people make the most of the days they have left, and hope John’s Dream provided him inspiration and closure.”
About Dream Foundation:
Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, closure and comfort at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to nearly 25,000 final Dreams over the past two decades, and has never turned down a qualified request. For more information, please visit dreamfoundation.org.
Seasoned Businesswoman Plans to Build on Accomplishments
Santa Barbara, Calif. – Dream Foundation announced today that it promoted Kisa Heyer to chief executive officer, the organization’s top position. Heyer most recently served as the Foundation’s executive director, and will be responsible for its operations including programming, development and management of the board of directors.
“For almost three years, Kisa has been a tireless advocate for the terminally-ill adults that Dream Foundation serves,” said Dream Foundation Board Chair Kenneth P. Slaught. “This promotion reflects Kisa’s exceptional business background along with her passion for the mission. Her leadership is critical to Dream Foundation’s long-term growth and sustainability.”
Under Heyer’s leadership as executive director, the Foundation launched its Dreams for Veterans program, which provides final Dreams to our nation’s veterans and focused creating awareness around non-medical palliative care services Dream Foundation provides.
“I am so honored to take on this new role to help ensure Dream Foundation maintains its responsibility and accountability to our nationwide network of supporters, partners, dreamers, and their communities,” said Heyer. “I am passionate about executing our mission and maintaining our tradition of ensuring that we never turn down a qualified Dream request.”
Prior to joining Dream Foundation, Heyer, a trained CPA, worked in international fixed income operations and management for several investment banks in London. She is also an active volunteer and served as the board president of Ganna Walska Lotusland, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit where she participated in management operations, long-range planning, development, governance and finance efforts. She is also a Lifetime Honorary Trustee of the organization.
About Dream Foundation
Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to nearly 25,000 Dreams over the past two decades, and has never turned down a qualified request. For more information please visit DreamFoundation.org
September 17, 2015 – Washington, D.C. – Today, Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness—publicly launched its Dreams for Veterans program in Washington, D.C., where Members of Congress, representatives of The White House’s Joining Forces program and Dreams for Veterans recipients and their families were in attendance. Dreams for Veterans serves those who have served by giving back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream. To date, the program has served the dreams of more than 100 terminally ill adults; that number is projected to expand to more than 600 over the next few years.
“It is a great honor to be joined today by The White House’s Joining Forces team, Members of Congress and most importantly some of our nation’s bravest who have had their dreams served by the Dreams for Veterans program,” said Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer.
U.S. military veteran dreamers to date have served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. “We hope to serve as many as 400 veterans in 2016, and many, many more in the years to follow,” said Heyer. “Our goal is to expand our national presence and outreach efforts and be readily available to every terminally ill veteran in need of a final dream.”
“As First Lady, one of my core missions is ensuring our service members, veterans, and their families have the support they have earned when they hang up their uniforms. That is why I am so proud of the incredible work the Dream Foundation has done – and will continue to do – on behalf of those who served in our Nation’s armed forces,” said First Lady Michelle Obama, whose remarks were shared from a letter of support for the Dreams for Veterans program by U.S. Air Force Col. Nicole Malachowski, Executive Director of The White House’s Joining Forces program. In 2011 Mrs. Obama joined with Dr. Jill Biden to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans and their families, and support them through wellness, education and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works hand-in-hand with the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.
Speaking at today’s event were Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who were joined by dream recipients and their families from each of their Congressional districts.
“Dreams for Veterans offers truly heartwarming acts of gratitude to those who have given so much to our country,” Congresswoman Lois Capps said. “I have long admired the Dream Foundation’s work, and I am inspired by their efforts to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families.”
Following the formal speaking program, a panel discussion moderated by Dream Foundation’s Executive Director Kisa Heyer was comprised of representatives from leading veterans service organizations,who discussed the special needs of veterans at end-of-life. Panelists included Sarah Meltzer from the National Hospice Foundation, Garry Augustine from DAV and Steve Schwab from Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
Honored guests at the event included those who have received dreams from the Dreams for Veterans program and/or their family representatives. Dreamers and family members included:
• James (Arizona) —James passed away June 24, 2015 from terminal adenocarcinoma, one day before he realized his dream of visiting Washington D.C. with his wife and son. He was 55 years old. James served honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1977 – 1981 before retiring as a Disbursing Clerk Second Class. Having served during peacetime, he shared with Dreams for Veterans that his most meaningful memory was pulling out of port and seeing the land disappear. “I always got a charge over that,” he had said. “When I was on watch, I would look out and realize that I was protecting family and loved ones back home.” Senator McCain’s office helped plan a memorable trip for James and his wife and son, including tours of the White House and U.S. Capitol, and visits to historic landmarks around the city—a trip he had to cancel at the last minute because he became unable to travel. As James’ wife Sheri expressed after he died, “My husband was overwhelmed by the Foundation granting him his dream. Even though he didn’t get to go on the trip, it helped to restore his faith in the goodness of people.” James’ wife attended the event on his behalf.
• Ray (California) —Ray is an 89-year-old leukemia and heart disease patient, and a U.S. Navy veteran. He served from 1944 -1946 and his title was Seaman 3rd Class, Ships Mate. He was stationed at Sampson, N.Y., and later mostly loaded ammunition in the Utah and Nevada deserts. Ray’s dream, to enjoy a trip to the Yosemite Valley with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, occurred in May 2015. Dreams for Veterans sent the family to Yosemite, where they stayed in the Ahwahnee Hotel, enjoyed stunning views of the valley and made perhaps their last set of memories together there in the park.
• Hallock (Connecticut) —Hallock is a U.S. Army veteran. His dream was to make memories with his wife and three young children (8, 6 and 4) by taking them to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Yocher’s dream occurred in January 2014. His family of five visited both SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando in addition to Walt Disney World. Hallock said he felt “such peace and joy to see my kids look so happy and excited and they explored the parks.” At the time of his dream, Hallock’s physician attested that he had a life expectancy of nine months due to his terminal Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. However, he has exceeded that prognosis and was thrilled to share his story. Hallock is a proud veteran, who spent six years in the Army, serving one tour in Iraq. After that time he transferred to the Air Force, where he toured Iraq again. He has received honorable discharges from both branches of service.
• Randy (Ohio) —Randy passed away January 24, 2015 from cancer. His dream, to attend a Pittsburgh Steelers game, occurred on October 21, 2014. Randy was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1975 – 1995, serving on submarines. Randy was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Over the years he had attended a few home games, but with finances strained as a result of his illness, he had not been able to see a game live for quite some time. Last fall, Randy appealed to Dreams for Veterans for help getting to Heinz Field and watching his favorite team from the sidelines. Randy and his family went to a game, after which he wrote to Dreams for Veterans saying, “It was absolutely fabulous. It meant so much to us. The weather was beautiful; everything was perfect. We made amazing memories.” Randy’s family attended the event on his behalf.
About Dream Foundation The only national dream-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families battling life-threatening 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. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) and entrepreneur and philanthropist, John Paul DeJoria are founding sponsors of this program. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org/ veterans.