Santa Barbara, CA – With a prognosis of less than three months to live due to advanced-stage heart disease, 88-year-old St. Louis resident, Dorothy White, will experience her wish to reunite with the man she loves but is separated from by distance, the poor state of each of their health, and – most pivotally – that both have been too shy to share their mutual feelings of admiration and love.
Her dream is being fulfilled by the Santa Barbara, California-based Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness.
At 5 p.m., Saturday, February 18, the pair – each escorted by their respective caregivers – will come together one last time, for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner at Ryan’s Steakhouse, 7597 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis. In preparation for the dinner, Dorothy will receive a new outfit and a trip to the beauty salon.
Dorothy and Ralph originally connected in the early 1980s when Dorothy’s sister, Marilyn, died. Marilyn and Ralph had been married. In his grief, Ralph began helping Dorothy (also a young widow) around her home – bringing in trashcans, delivering groceries, and even making her house payment when times got tough. They were neighbors for 40 years and had nurtured a close relationship. But, out of respect
to Marilyn, Dorothy said they never disclosed their feelings to anyone – including one another – and only ever called each other, “friend.”
As Dorothy’s health declined she moved to a nursing home out of town. Ralph – himself battling terminal cancer – continued to check in on her empty house, but their visits became few and far between. Ralph has finally revealed his love for Dorothy to her family; she’s confided the same thing to her nurse.
“I want Ralph to be my Valentine,” Dortothy also told Dream Foundation. “He’s my favorite man in the world.”
According to Dream Foundation President and Founder, Thomas Rollerson, the opportunity for a special night out is so profound for this pair. “It’s a love story validated. And after so many years, what could be more fulfilling – and provide more closure – than that? Helping make a final dream come true for people like Dorothy is our daily inspiration.”
Santa Barbara, CA – With a limited prognosis of less than one month to live due to advanced-stage cancer, 53-year-old Reginald “Reggie” Johnson will experience his wish for a final Valentine’s Day with his wife – a cozy staycation in their own hometown, where the essence of the beach will come to them, since he’s too ill to travel there himself.
At 11 a.m., Friday, January 27, Dream Foundation volunteers from Genentech will arrive at Reggie’s Kilgore, Texas home, presenting him and his wife, Judy, with two nights’ accommodations at the nearby Comfort Suites – which they will enjoy February 3rd and 4th. To further enhance the dream experience and help bring the beach to Reggie, the volunteers will surprise the couple with ocean-themed accoutrements they can enjoy while they’re away.
Also committed to the effort, the Comfort Suites staff will decorate, dress the room and leave beach-themed goodies in advance of the Johnsons’ visit.
The fulfillment of Reggie’s dream is coordinated by the Santa Barbara, California-based Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness.
This romantic Valentine’s getaway comes amid considerable hardship for Reggie. He has been struggling with cancer for four years and, according to Judy, is rapidly declining and losing his propensity for happiness. Although she works two jobs to support them, while remaining his primary caregiver, the couple struggles financially due to high costs of medical care and treatments.
“We haven’t been able to do anything in a long time because of our finances,” Judy writes in a letter to Dream Foundation. “We had talked about going to the beach when he got better, but I know we won’t be able to. This could be the last time we get to go away just the two of us, to relax and enjoy each other.”
According to Dream Foundation President and Founder, Thomas Rollerson, the weekend away will offer Reggie and Judy a great deal of comfort. “Fulfilling a final dream from the heart for people like Reggie is our daily inspiration,” says Dream Foundation Founder and President, Thomas Rollerson. “We are privileged to help make something so special a reality for this man.”
Santa Barbara, Calif. – December 2, 2011 − Dream Foundation, the first and largest national wish- granting organization for adults in the end stages of life, is offering non-monetary ways to help those in need this holiday season. The 4-Star Charity Navigator-rated organization fulfills nearly 2,000 final dreams each year. Thirty percent – representing approximately 1,000 airline tickets for dream recipients and/or their loved ones – involved travel, including urgent bedside goodbyes, family reunions and final trips with children.
Santa Barbara, CA – Monday, October 3, 2011, Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Chaz Fudge’s final dream to find closure by visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, NY.
Fudge is facing a 6-12 month prognosis in his battle with stage IV (non-small cell) lung cancer, believed to have been caused by the inhalation of asbestos during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Fudge served as a Telecommunication Analyst at Ground Zero for Mattel Telecom and suffered many broken bones during the attack. Several years later, his wife – a high school teacher – died of breast cancer and Fudge was left to raise his then 13-year-old son on his own.
In his letter to Dream Foundation, Fudge writes, “I was left with a 13-year-old, African-American son, Chaz III. My wife’s, mother’s and dad’s dying wishes were for him to receive a college education, as my wife and I had been afforded. It has been rough physically, mentally and financially. We have not had a real vacation since his mother was living.”
Ernest Mulvey and his family
SANTA BARBARA, CA – September 8, 2011 – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Ernest Mulvey’s dream to share with his family the importance – and selflessness – of America’s military.
The 49-year-old Lake Elsinore resident has dedicated his life to serving his country. He served 10 years in the U.S. Army and six in the Air Force, including three deployments and two tours in Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. Currently an officer in the Army Reserve, Mulvey is also losing his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Only one year after his initial diagnosis, he has lost his ability to speak, and is confined to a wheelchair. He has been given two months to live.
While the cause of Mulvey’s condition is unknown, a 2004 study by the American Academy of Neurology found that men who served in the military were 60% more likely to develop ALS than those who did not.
On Sunday, September 11, Dream Foundation will bring Mulvey and his family to San Diego, where they’ll receive a special American Legion motorcycle escort – comprised of motorcycle enthusiasts and patriotic veterans – to a Cardiff tribute event, marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Host, Congressman Brian Bilbray, will welcome Mulvey publicly, share his story, and acknowledge his many years of dedicated service.
As Mulvey wrote last month in his letter to Dream Foundation, “I always tell my girls to strive to do their best, never give up or quite. There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed, but I always do in spite of the pain. I want to live show my girls that I practice what I preach, and set an example to them to make the best of what life has to offer in spite of the difficulties or setbacks.”
According to Dream Foundation founder, Thomas Rollerson, Mulvey’s dream helps remind us that – even in times of war – not all casualties occur on the battlefield. “We and honored to serve Ernest and his family, and fulfill his final dream.”
The Mulvey family’s itinerary for the morning of September 11th is as follows:
- 8:40 a.m. – Depart La Quinta Inn, 641 Camino del Rio South, San Diego
- 9:10 a.m. – Arrive American Legion Post 416, 210 West F. St., Encinitas (corner of F St.
& 2nd Ave.) – There will be a prayer, the pledge of allegiance and briefing of the morning’s events
- 9:40 a.m. – Kickstands Up! American Legion riders will provide the family with a motorcycle escort (approx. 5 min. drive) to the following:
- 10th Anniversary Tribute to Remember Our Fallen Firefighters & Law Enforcement Officers Hosted by Congressman Brian Bilbray & Carlsbad Firefighters Association South Cardiff State Beach parking lot, South Highway 101, Cardiff
- 10:00 a.m. – Ceremony begins (will last approx. one hour) – Congressman Bilbray will publicly acknowledge Mulvey’s presence in the audience