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Dream Foundation to Grant La Mirada Navy Veteran’s Final Dream to Revisit Military Past, Visit Battleship Iowa

Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill hospice patient John Bock’s longtime dream to visit the Battleship USS Iowa.

Bock’s dream is being served by Dream Foundation’s new sub-program, Dreams for Veterans, which will launch officially in Fall 2015. The mission of Dreams for Veterans is to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.

With a prognosis of six months or fewer due to heart disease, Bock, a 92-year-old La Mirada, California resident and World War II veteran, will take his wife, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a journey he’s been looking forward to for years.

Together they’ll board the (BB-61) USS Iowa, where they will receive a VIP tour and “admire the size of the ship and its guns,” Bock’s Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care social worker Emily Blicha wrote on his behalf in an application letter to Dream Foundation.

The tour will be 10 a.m., Saturday, April 18. At approximately 9:30 a.m. Bock and his family will arrive on site. Press is invited to attend.

Battleship USS Iowa is located at:

Pacific Battleship Center, USS Iowa BB-61
250 South Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, Los Angeles, CA  90731
Ph: 877-4-IOWA-61 (877-446-9261)

Bock served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946, where his position was Gunner’s Mate (GM). “He took care of guns and ammunition and even handled torpedo warheads and bombs,” Blicha continues in the application letter. “John traveled a lot while in the service. He went from San Diego to Fallbrook and from there to the South Pacific.”

Originally from Iowa, Bock—who takes a great deal of pride in his service and comes from a line of decorated Navy veterans—first dreamt of visiting the USS Iowa six years ago when he felt the need to retrace memories of working on a similar battleship deck those many decades before.

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Bock’s final dream is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share in this momentous occasion.”

As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in California, 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 Carl’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 its annual Stars for Heroesfundraising campaign.

In addition to the VIP tour, Dream Foundation has provided Bock’s family with spending money for incidentals and lunch.

Dream Foundation to Fulfill Dying Marine Corps Veteran’s Final Dream to Take Historical Tour of Pearl Harbor

Santa Barbara, CA –  In conjunction with the VA Maryland Health Care System and Disabled American Veterans, Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill hospice patient Joseph Hooker’s final dream to explore the history of the U.S. Marine Corps at Pearl Harbor.

Hooker’s dream is being served by Dream Foundation’s new sub-program, Dreams for Veterans, which will launch officially in Fall 2015. The mission of Dreams for Veterans is to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.

With a prognosis of fewer than two months due to heart disease and cancer, Hooker, a 63-year-old Essex, Maryland resident and Vietnam Veteran, will take his brother and sister-in-law, who are also his caregivers, on a journey years in the making.

Together they’ll travel to Honolulu to board the (BB-63) USS Missouri, where they will receive a private tour and “learn, touch, and understand what happened there,” Hooker wrote in an application letter to Dream Foundation.

The tour will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 25. At approximately 9:45 a.m.—escorted by local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) volunteers—Hooker, his brother and sister-in-law will meet a representative from the USS Missouri in front of the entrance to the battleship. Press is invited to attend.

On-the-ground contacts:

Barbara Hayes with the VSO: (808) 433-7676

Chaslee Ikawa from the USS Missouri (808) 455-1600 x232

Honolulu VA Public Affairs Office (PAO) (808) 433-0049

Hooker served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972, voluntarily enlisting at age 17 because “that was where my heart led me,” he continued in his application letter. “My heart was telling me that I was a Marine and that I was going to work hard and train to be the best.” During his years of service, he was stationed in Paris Island, Europe and Vietnam.

According to Tova Jussim, Hooker’s Optum Hospice and Palliative Care (a Dream Foundation Hospice Partner) social worker who made the referral to Dream Foundation, “When he was returning home from his time in the service, the ship he was on had a 20-minute stopover at Pearl Harbor. At that time, his superiors shared the Marine Corps history of Pearl Harbor, World War II and the Marines’ role in the Pacific Theater. He saw the Pacific Fleet from a distance in 1972 and promised himself he would return.”

Until now, 42 years later, the decorated Veteran who had worked his way up from Private to Sargent had not had the chance to return.

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Hooker’s final wish is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share in this momentous occasion.”

As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in California, 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 Carl’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 its annual Stars for Heroesfundraising campaign.

In addition to the USS Missouri tour, Dream Foundation has provided the airfare from Maryland to Hawaii, as well as four nights in Hawaii, accommodations on either end due to layovers, and financial assistance for meals and incidentals.

Dream Foundation Reaches Milestone 20,000th Dream Served, Granting 34-Year-Old Woman’s Final Wish to Make Memories with Her Family

Dream Foundation 20,000th DreamerDream Foundation — the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—has served 20,000 dreams since it was founded in 1994. The milestone 20,000th dream was recently granted to Yvonne Rodriguez, a 34-year-old woman from Los Angeles, CA. The wife and mother of two has been battling terminal breast cancer and dreamt of sharing a special trip where she could enjoy time with her husband Michael and children, Ava, 9, and Eli, 4.

Rodriguez and her family visited SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They spent three nights at the Hilton Grand Vacation Pacific Palisades resort. “It was fabulous; it was better than anything we could have asked for,” her husband said.

Dream Foundation will be celebrating its 20,000th dream milestone with the Rodriguez Family at 11:15 a.m., Wednesday, January 21st at Dream Foundation headquarters, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 with a special recognition ceremony. Press is invited to cover this event.

Yvonne with family at Seaworld

John Wolfsohn Photography and Video

“What dreams do for individuals like Yvonne is allow them the chance to dream again and create memories and experience moments that are among life’s most important, for themselves but also for their loved ones,” said Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “A dream for an adult is often a humble request about gathering with loved ones, making the most of the time they have left and celebrating a life lived.”

Final dreams range from basic needs items such as a mobility scooter, lift chair, working appliance or laptop, to bedside reunions, final vacations with family or meeting a personal hero. Dream Foundation has never turned down a qualified dream request. The organization receives no federal or state funding, relying solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants.

“Year after year, we continue to see a rise in dream requests, and our goal is to continue to be a resource for those in need,” Heyer said. “After 20 years, our dream recipients continue to inspire us to do the important work of providing comfort and closure during the end-of-life journey. With the support of our dedicated community, we are looking forward to ensuring that Dream Foundation is an important part of people’s lives and dreams for the next 20 years.”

Dream Foundation Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement To Encourage Spending With A Purpose

Dream Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.

Taking place December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

Dream Foundation invites its communities to share their reasons for giving and help raise awareness and funds for its own mission, as well the work of other non-profits that strive tirelessly year-round to make a difference and give back to those in need.

“At Dream Foundation, our staff, volunteers, donors and corporate partners know how the rewards of caring for other people can far outweigh the charge,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “During the holiday season, as we give thanks for all we have in our own lives, we are also grateful for the support from our village of dedicated volunteers, donors and partners whose efforts come together to make thousands of dreams come true every year.”

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the non-profit community and cultural center 92nd Street Y (92Y), came together in 2012 to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector. The concept gained steam, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement and are providing creative ways people can embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” says Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

Those who are interested in joining Dream Foundation’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit www.dreamfoundation.org/givingtuesday. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org).

Dream Foundation to Grant Dying Houston Woman’s Final Dream for Galveston Thanksgiving with Family and Friends

Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—will fulfill Deborah Martin’s dream to share Thanksgiving dinner with those she loves during a family reunion at the beach.

The 52-year-old Houston resident—who will be staying in Galveston with her family the week of Thanksgiving—is facing a prognosis of six months or less in her battle with autoimmune hepatitis. With doctor’s appointments, treatments and mounting medical bills, she was unable to bring her large family together for the holiday without help.

On Thursday, November 27, Dream Foundation will provide the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast for Martin and 23 relatives. The group will begin preparing their meal at approximately 12 p.m. Press is invited to attend. The location is 3118 Ave S, Galveston, Texas 77550. According to Martin,

Thanksgiving—especially this year—holds special significance for her. “This year it falls on my mom’s death anniversary,” she writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation. “Mom was my best friend in the world. She died the Saturday after Thanksgiving and ever since her death, this holiday has not been the same. My father is turning 80 this year and it would make me happy if he could see that our family is close once more.”

A hospice patient, Martin says she contracted hepatitis C from the multiple blood transfusions she received during the birth of her eldest son in the 1980s. She says her health has deteriorated significantly in the last three years.

“There is not much more I can do to ‘fix’ what is wrong with me,” she continues in her application letter. “I do not want my family to reunite at my funeral; I want to experience life with them. I crave another look at the ocean, to feel the breeze and walk on the sand with my bare feet. I need the loving support of my family around my sons and me. I want my sons to know that they will have a support system when the time comes in their lives when I will no longer be around.”

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, Martin’s dream to come together with her family for the holiday perfectly 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 gathering with loved ones over a special meal, spending a special holiday together.”

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