Dream Foundation to Fulfill Arizona Man’s Wish to Take Final Bow with Friends and Colleagues
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.”