“I want to give my family a chance to spend a few days together on vacation away from cancer, doctor visits and hospitals,” Albert wrote to us. “My deepest Dream is to spend the time I have left with my girls creating happy memories.”
Dream Foundation sent Albert, his wife and two daughters to the Disney Resort & Hotel and provided tickets to the park.
Elephants are special to Daryl, 31, from Orem, Utah, and his family. Daryl has glioblastoma and discovered he has a genetic mutation that caused him to have only one cancer-fighting gene, rather than two like most of us. Three of Daryl’s children also have the mutation, but are currently cancer free. His doctor is studying Daryl’s cancer in relation to the genetic makeup of elephants. Elephants have 40 copies of the cancer-fighting gene and rarely get cancer.
Daryl’s Dream was to take his family to the Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) to see the magnificent animals that may hold the key to a cure for others with the genetic mutation. The CEC is not open to the public, but the owners extended an invitation for Daryl’s family to visit for the day.
Dream Foundation arranged a four-night hotel stay, tickets to Disney World and Universal Studios and help with vacation expenses. Daryl’s wife wrote us, “He loved meeting the elephants at the CEC and watching the excitement of our children’s faces at the theme parks. Thank you for such a memorable trip!”
During the Vietnam War, Emily, 69, worked with the American Red Cross’ “Donut Dollies,” a name given to women in World War II who gave servicemen coffee and donuts out of retrofitted ambulances. Emily’s unit flew in helicopters to firebases where servicemen lived when they were not out on patrol. She loved the excitement of flying, and when the pilots would try to scare the Donut Dollies with their air acrobatics, she’d ask them to do it again. Emily’s Dream was to relive that thrill and “joy of floating between heaven and earth with a 360-degree view.”
Dream Foundation provided Emily an aerobatic glider ride. After which she wrote us, “I want to thank you for one of the great adventures of my lifetime… Family and friends came to watch and the whole experience was fantastic! For days afterwards I relived it to friends. Each time I could feel the ups and downs and turns and twists. It was glorious. Just sitting in a chair, I could feel the experience over and over.”
Frank, a U.S. Army veteran, was fitted for dentures years ago, but couldn’t afford the cost of having them adjusted after his teeth were removed. He Dreamed of having new dentures to improve not only his daily life, but also his self-esteem.
“They would make the process of eating more pleasant, and they would make him feel much better about himself,” his daughter, Susan, said. “That means no more awkwardness when his teeth fall out and when the food gets stuck under the dentures each time he eats.”
With some help, Frank was able to visit Dr. Yoshikane’s dental practice where he received a new set of teeth. Smiles should never be taken for granted and we’re glad to see one on Frank’s face.
A musician and singer, Randy, 62 from Reno, Nev. spent much of his life playing music, including 10 years in Maui playing for thousands of people, but never recording a single album. When asked by his doctor what his final Dream would be, Randy responded that he would like to spend time in a studio recording his favorite songs. Randy spent two days in the recording studio at Tanglewood Productions in Reno recording the songs that he loves, creating a musical collection that he can leave behind for his wife and their family.
Randy was joined in the studio by friends, and they spent the day recording music for his wife for their anniversary. Randy says, “I just want something to leave behind as a memento; a reminder of yes, I was here; please remember me this way."
Santa Barbara artist Freddy, 89, dreamed of showing a comprehensive retrospective of his life’s work. “A show of my paintings would allow me to present for myself, my family and others in my community my efforts to reflect the world in my art,” Freddy told us.
Dream Foundation in collaboration with the Santa Barbara community arranged for a gallery exhibition hosted by the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery.
“My work has never received such a generous opportunity before and it [is] a meaningful way for me to celebrate my life’s work before I die,” Freddy says.
Leeanne grew up loving the ocean, and wanted to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary near the water.
She and her husband celebrated with a trip to Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara where they enjoyed the scenic landscape and the ocean. “As an adult, my love and appreciation grew for the ocean and the beach because it became not only a place for fun, sun and family memories, but also a place of tranquility and peace on the rough days,” she said.
We’re happy to have helped make their trip more than a Dream.
Arlon is a 93-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran from San Diego. One of the first women to to enlist in the U.S. military, she reached the rank of sergeant during World War II. In addition to her military service, Arlon dedicated 64 years volunteering for the Girl Scouts of America.
Arlon still attends events for these two organizations, and feels strongly about being properly attired. She used to make her own clothes, but finds it difficult these days, and Dreamed of a shopping spree at Nordstrom. Because she is so petite, Arlon also needed a tailor to fit her clothes.
Dream Foundation teamed up with a Virginia Girl Scout, whose father is a Marine, and one of our Veteran Advisory Committee Members to deliver Arlon’s Dream.
John is very proud of his service in Vietnam.
The United States Air Force veteran sought a deeper connection to the veterans he never met, but stage IV cancer left him with limited time and options to make this happen. He Dreamed of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. with friend and fellow veteran, Ed, to make that connection.
Through Dreams for Veterans and Honor Flight Network, John and Ed made it to D.C. where they participated in an Honor Flight, which recognized their service and sacrifice. John and Ed received the United States of America Vietnam War Veteran Commemoration pin from Honor Flight’s Jim McLaughlin during a special ceremony, and John Spacapan and John Hayes presented John with a congratulatory letter on behalf of Senator Mark Kirk.
We’d like to thank #SouthwestHeart and #HonorFlight team for helping to fulfill John’s Dream. This was a special moment for him and we’re happy to have collaborated with so many great partners to have made it happen.
Judy, 69, told us that she wanted to stay in a cabin in on the Shenendoah River in Luray, Va., with her husband and two dogs, but her medical bills made it financially impossible. “I’m feeling good and would enjoy an experience to feel either excitement or relaxed. I know that sounds contradictory but that is me,” Judy wrote us.
Dream Foundation gave life to Judy’s Dream by providing her a trip to a cabin at the Misty River Retreat. These pictures show the joy that a relaxing vacation can bring.
Karen dreamed of a final family vacation to Disneyland with her children and grandchildren. Karen told us she chose Disneyland because, “...you feel like child when you are there. It’s the most wonderful place on the face of the Earth.”
Grand Legacy at the Park provided accommodations, and hosted the family for the Disneyland Fireworks in its rooftop lounge helping create wonderful memories of a final family vacation.
After the Dream, Karen wrote us, “We had such a good time, we just had the best time. The hotel was so awesome. The whole staff is phenomenal. They were so nice! We all had a wonderful time. It couldn’t have been any better.”
Claudia is a 26-year old from Newport News, who dreamed of visiting New York, so that she could see a show and experience everything the city has to offer! “It’s every girl’s dream to visit the big apple and feel like a New Yorker for a day,” she told us.
Dream Foundation was provided Claudia and her mother with round-trip flights to New York, a 3 night hotel stay, tickets to The Color Purple Broadway show complete with a private cast meet & greet, a makeover for the night of the show, and some spending money for her trip.
After the Dream Claudia said, “It was wonderful - I had a great time! My favorite part was when I got dressed up and went to The Color Purple. It felt like a Cinderella moment!”
Gene, 69, dreamed of having a refrigerator that crushes ice and dispenses cool water to soothe the pain from mouth sores and to help him rest more comfortably. Ice from a typical ice tray were too large, and Gene’s wife crushed each cube herself, which didn’t work very well. “If I had this refrigerator, I think I might be able to [go] into the kitchen and get my crushed ice and ice water whenever I wanted,” Gene told us.
Dream Foundation gave life to Gene’s Dream by providing him with a new refrigerator. Even the simplest Dreams can have a big impact.
Dreamer JoAnn, 75, from Haskell, New Jersey. A lifelong Elvis fan, she wanted more than anything to see him perform. The son of residents in her senior living facility is an Elvis Impersonator. He loves visiting with JoAnn and agreed to put a show on for her. Dream Foundation provided JoAnn with a personalized concert in the comfort of her facility.
JoAnn’s daughter Cheri wrote, “The Elvis show this weekend was a HIT!! My sister put her wig on, did up her makeup...She looked wonderful and she had a wonderful time. This truly was a Dream come true for her and it has added such joy to her life. From the bottom of my heart and with tears in my eyes – Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!”
Joyce, 56, from Martinsville, Indiana, is a life-long artist and musician. She says she has been lucky to travel the world, and has always wanted to see an opera.
Joyce’s Dream was to travel to New York City and see an opera at the world-famous Metropolitan Opera House—also known as the Met.
With the help of the Met, Dream Foundation provided round trip flights, a hotel room for her family, and four orchestra seating tickets to Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Joyce even had a photo session before the Opera that made her feel like a star!
Santa Barbara native Charlotte, 97, is an accomplished, caring and giving woman with so many stories to share. She has had a very full life and volunteered for many local and national programs. She was even named Grand Regent of the Moose Legion (Moose International) and traveled all over the country in that role.
Charlotte’s Dream was about family. She lives with her granddaugther Charlene, and wanted to travel to northern California to meet her great, great grandchildren—Charlene’s grandchildren—for the very first time.
Dream Foundation arranged the reunion for Charlotte and Charlene, and even provided a special family outing to the zoo.