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Dream Foundation Launches Program to Serve Terminally Ill Veterans’ Final Dreams

 

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.

Dreamers’ Stories

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.

Capps Attends Dreams for Veterans Launch

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps joined local veteran and dream recipient George “Ray” West in attending the Dream Foundation’s public launch of its Dreams for Veterans program in Washington, D.C. The Dreams for Veterans program serves our nation’s heroes by giving back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream. Photos of Capps meeting with Mr. West and speaking at the event can be found here and here.

West is an 89-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who served as Seaman 3rd Class, Ships Mate from 1944 -1946. He lives in Santa Barbara with his family and has been diagnosed with both leukemia and heart disease. West’s dream of enjoying a trip to the Yosemite Valley with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, was fulfilled in May 2015. The trip came 65 years after Mr. West and his wife, Jean, first honeymooned in Yosemite in 1950.

“Dreams for Veterans offers truly heartwarming acts of gratitude to those who have given so much to our country,” Capps said. “I have long admired the Dream Foundation’s work, and I am so inspired by their efforts to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families.”

When asked about their dream to Yosemite…Jean West, his wife said: “It meant the world to us! We honeymooned there in 1950 and fell in love with the area. We built a cabin there and from 1950 to 1999 we stayed in our cabin at least one day every month for 49 years. It was our home away from home where we raised our children. We didn’t think we would ever be able to return, but Dream Foundation gave us the opportunity to return home! And create even more memories!” Ray added, “Yosemite is a wonderland of God’s work.” When asked about his upcoming trip to DC, Ray said…“I am excited to experience something new, the opportunity to meet the dignitaries that will be at the launch, and visits the memorials that share so much of our history.”

“After more than 20 years and 20,000 dreams served throughout all 50 states, it is more special than ever knowing Dream Foundation began and has always had its home base right here in Santa Barbara,” said Kisa Keyer, Dream Foundation Executive Director. “The importance this community and people like Lois Capps place on the role of a dream in the palliative care continuum, particularly for veterans, is of the utmost importance to us. We are overjoyed that Santa Barbara’s own Mr. Ray West will be traveling to D.C. with his son David for the public launch of Dreams for Veterans and thank Capps and her team for their support.”

To date, Dreams for Veterans has served more than 100 dreams to veterans and plans to expand to more than 600 over the next few years. The Dream Foundation is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA and has fulfilled 20,000 dreams to terminally ill participants nation-wide.

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Dream Foundation Fulfills Dying Phenix City Animal Lover’s Dream by Bringing Petting Zoo to Her

Santa Barbara, CA– Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—will fulfill lifelong animal lover Reba Reeves’ dream by bringing a petting zoo to the nursing home where she resides.

The 86-year-old Phenix City resident—who has a life expectancy of approximately six months— wants nothing more than to spend time with some animals in her final days.

On Thursday, June 4th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Parkwood Health Care, 3301 Stadium Dr., Phenix City, Reeves and her fellow residents will enjoy a petting zoo provided by Jubilee Farm. Media is invited to attend.

According to Reeves’ Gentiva Hospice social worker, Keldin Jones, who referred her request to Dream Foundation, Reeves grew up in the country with the constant comfort of animals. “Whenever I visit her,” she says, “she asks to see animals and to return to the country.”

Since her illness and prognosis preclude her from doing so, Jones suggested the next best thing would be to bring the animals to her.

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, Reeves’ dream conveys the simplicity of many requests the Foundation receives. “A dream for an adult is often a humble request,” Heyer says. “At the end of the day, it’s about experiencing a long lost love, and creating deep and meaningful memories.”

Funk Zone Fashion Show Seeks to Engage Youth with Charitable Work of Dream Foundation

Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—is partnering with cutting-edge local swimwear designer, Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim, to host Summer Dream, a swimwear runway show event aimed at engaging young adults in the mission of Dream Foundation and raising funds to help make dreams come true.

Press are invited to attend the event:

Summer Dream Swimwear Runway Show

5-8 p.m., Thursday June 4th

Aperture Collection and Cabana Home
(120 Santa Barbara St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

One-hundred percent of proceeds raised will be earmarked to serve the dreams of applicants in their twenties.

“About 11% of our dream recipients are between the ages of 18 and 35,” says Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation Executive Director. “Their dreams range from basic needs items like laptops and tablets to stay connected with family and friends, to the opportunity to meet a personal hero or experience a rite of passage such as a graduation or prom.”

Summer Dream will feature a runway show by Rocha Swim, as well as fashion from other local designers including CA Makes, Studio 399 Jewelry, Make Smith, Lisa Sands Design, and Chapala & Parker. On hand serving up burgers and bites will be the mobile Carl’s Jr. ® Star Diner. There will be live performances by Danny Winter and DJ IDEX, as well as a raffle, wine and beer.

According to event chair Arlene Montesano, “It is exciting to be working with a talented young designer like Danielle Rocha, who has channeled her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into giving back to the community. This is going to be the first event of its kind for Dream Foundation and we are working hard to make it a great success.”

Tickets are a tax-deductible donation of $75 each, and may be purchased online now at www.dreamfoundation.org/summerdream.

Raffle tickets—for prizes including beauty and fitness packages, as well as a 3-night stay at the Four Seasons Punta Mita Resort in Mexico—are also available for purchase at the same link: $10 each or 6 for $50. Presence at event not required to win.

Summer Dream event sponsors include Blue Star Parking, Cabana Home, Carl’s Jr.®, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Don and Susan Kang, Jim Nigro, Eric and Nina Phillips, Walter Claudio Salon Spa, SpaceNK Apothecary.

Dream Foundation maintains a 4-star Charity Navigator rating (the highest rating) for sound fiscal responsibility and has never turned away a qualified dream request.

Dream Foundation Named National Beneficiary of Carl’s JR. and Hardee’s Fifth Annual Stars for Heroes Campaign

Carl's_JrCARPINTERIA, Calif.CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® restaurants, kicks off its fifth annual Stars for Heroes™ fundraising campaign this week at participating locations. The program, which has raised more than $3.5 million since its inception in 2011, harnesses the compassion and generosity of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s customers, franchisees and employees to rally behind the nation’s active-duty military, veterans and their families. Funds raised during this year’s campaign will support national charity partners, Dream Foundation’s Dreams for Veterans program and USA Cares, as well as dozens of regional and local military-focused charities in the communities in which Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s serve.

The 2015 Stars for Heroes fundraising campaign begins today and runs through June 16. To participate, restaurant guests donate $1 in support of military charities. For each $1 donation, guests receive a commemorative “I support military veterans and families” patriotic star-shaped cut-out to personalize and display in the restaurant. They also receive restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.

“Supporting our nation’s military heroes is part of our heritage at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s and a proud tradition that’s close to our hearts, our franchisees and our customers who donate year after year,” said Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants. “Last year we raised more than $1.1 million to support the crucial work of USA Cares, Dream Foundation and regional charities across the country, and this year, we hope to top that in a big way. As we celebrate Memorial Day and honor the service of our brave men and women in uniform, we invite everyone to stop by their neighborhood Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s location, show their patriotism and donate.”

“We are honored to continue our partnership with CKE as well as Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s franchisees for the annual Stars for Heroes campaign,” said Kisa Heyer, executive director of Dream Foundation and its Dreams for Veterans program. “Last year’s campaign helped Dream Foundation fund the final dreams of 114 deserving veterans. We are grateful for the generosity, dedication and compassion of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s crew members, customers and franchisees across the country, which enables us to continue to support veterans suffering from life-threatening illness.”

“Since 2011, our continued partnership with CKE Restaurants has become invaluable in providing services to active duty soldiers, veterans, Guard and Reserve members and their families,” said Peter Giusti, president of USA Cares. “We are humbled by the generosity and support we have received from Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. and its franchisees, employees and loyal customers over the years. Every dollar makes a difference and helps us continue to serve our nation’s heroes who’ve so selflessly served us.”

Since 2011, the Stars for Heroes program has supported more than 60 U.S. military charities nationwide. Stars for Heroes is made possible through generous contributions by CKE’s franchise community – The Independent Hardee’s Franchise Association (IHFA) and Star Franchise Association (SFA) – along with company employees and loyal customers. Private donations and in-kind support are provided by CKE partners and suppliers including KDM POP Solutions Group. To learn more about the Stars for Heroes national beneficiaries, visit their websites at www.dreamfoundation.org and www.usacares.org.

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