Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 34,000 final Dreams over the past 29 years.
What is a Dream?
- Dream must come from the adult diagnosed with a terminal or life limiting illness.
- Dream applicant must be able to communicate the Dream and comprehend/participate in the Dream experience.
- Dreams can be small (a dinner out with the family, a computer), elaborate (vacation at the Orlando theme parks, travel to the Grand Canyon), or improve the quality of life (TV, laptop).
- We do not cover funeral expenses or posthumous requests.
- Please also read what Dreams we are unable to grant on the cover page of the application.
Do I need to be a hospice patient to receive a Dream?
No. We have a Hospice Application for hospice patients, and a General Application for patients still pursuing active treatment.
Does it matter where I live in order to get a dream fulfilled?
- You have to live within the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.
- You don’t have to be a US citizen, but need to currently reside in the US or Puerto Rico.
Filling out the application…
- Anyone can fill out the application, but the Dream applicant (or if the applicant is unable to sign, his power of attorney) has to sign it. We need to make sure that this is the patient’s Dream, not someone else’s for the patient.
- Anyone can write the Dream letter, as long as it reflects the applicant’s Dream.
- The applicant has to be able to communicate his/her Dream, so if a patient is unconscious or unresponsive, we are not able to help.
- If you had a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation as a child, we need to know when that was and what your wish was, in order to determine your eligibility at this time.
- If your doctor does not want to put down a life expectancy, send the application in anyway. As long as the diagnosis and physicians signature is there, we will try to work with your doctor to find out if you qualify for our program or not.
- Should you get denied based on the life expectancy that your doctor put on the application, feel free to have the doctor fill out Step 4 again at a later time. We will keep your application for a year and would only need the medical part resubmitted within that time frame.
- If you don’t want to know what life expectancy the doctor puts in Step 4, Medical Information, feel free to have the doctor mail or fax that page in separately. Please call us for our fax number, should you wish to do that.
- We do accept faxed applications for emergencies only. Should the patient’s life expectancy only be from a few days to two months, you can call our office for the fax number to send the application in that way. We do still need the original mailed in; so don’t forget to put that in the mail after faxing.
What should I include in my application letter?
We want to learn about you, your Dream, and the loved ones around you that it may affect. The more detail you can offer, the better. We want to know why your Dream is important and unique to you. Help us understand how this final Dream would make an impact for you and/or those you love.
How long does it take until I get my Dream?
- It takes about three weeks to get the application processed before we begin with the verification process.
- Verification will take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the response time of your medical team/doctor.
- Once we start working on the Dream, please allow about three weeks to arrange for air travel, as flights get more expensive the closer to the desired date they are booked.
- Emergency Dream requests get processed the day we receive them and are verified ASAP
- While we will do our best to start working on your Dream as soon as possible, we can not rush your request for reasons other than medical necessity.
I do not file taxes, can I still apply? What’s the income limit to qualify?
- If you don’t file taxes, just let us know about it and if you can, include an SSI, disability statement or a bank statement.
- We want to help those in the greatest of need that are unable to do so on their own. We look at each application individually. We look at the taxable income, take into consideration how many people live in the household, geographic location, and also check if the letter talks about financial hardship. Also, if someone wants to meet a celebrity, then lack of financial means may not be the issue, but instead assistance in making that connection.
What do I need to be able to travel?
- If your Dream request requires travel, you need a major credit card or debit card with enough funds to cover expenses such as meals and ground transportation, as well as the unforeseen cost associated with a hospital stay and getting home in case of an emergency.
- We do not ask for your credit card number.
- If your Dream request includes a hotel stay, you will need a credit card at check-in to cover incidentals. If using a debit card for hotel check in please be aware that a hold will be put on the card from the hotel. Often, the blocked funds will not be released until about a week after your stay.
- You need a valid government issued picture ID.
- Your doctor needs to approve your travel. We will fax additional paperwork to your doctor to best assess your medical needs and make sure that you are cleared for travel.
What is included in a travel Dream?
- Typically, we cover air transportation (economy class only) as well as accommodations (one hotel room/family room only).
- We provide travel within the U.S. and Puerto Rico based on your location and at our discretion.
- On a case-by-case basis, we may allow one-way travel to countries outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico for patients who wish to die at home.
Who can be part of my Dream?
- The Dream will be for the Dream applicant, one other adult as a caregiver, as well as your children under 18 that live in your home.
- An additional caregiver will be accommodated at the doctor’s request for medical reasons only.
- Caregiver does not have to be a family member.
- Additional people would be responsible for their own trip planning/cost.
If I want to visit family or have family sent to visit me, how long can I/they stay and how many family members can be included?
- As long as you can stay with family or family can stay with you, there is no time limit.
- If you or your family need hotel accommodations, we can only cover 3-4 nights and one hotel room only.
- If we bring family to you, we will be able to cover 2-3 tickets if they are flying, or gas money for one vehicle.
- If you go to visit family, we will include you, your caregiver and your children under 18 who live with you.
What if I have special medical needs?
- We are unable to assist with medical needs, such as ambulance transportation, oxygen, medical equipment, nurses and aides, dialysis, etc…
- We are unable to arrange or provide hospice care away from home, dialysis treatments, or arrange for your oxygen needs.
- Should you have a medical emergency during your Dream, we are unable to assist in any way.
What if I want dentures?
We will do our best to find a dentist that will work with us to provide dentures for you. However, we will only be able to help if there are no teeth left, as pulling teeth is considered a medical procedure.
What if I want to meet a celebrity?
- Celebrities are hard to reach and they are very busy people. For that reason, it can take many months to arrange for a meet and greet.
- Celebrities do not make house calls, so you have to be able to travel to the concert/event that the celebrity is at in order to meet her/him and still meet our travel requirements (see above)
- In order for a meet and greet to be a good experience for both sides, we ask that if you apply to meet a celebrity, you are able to communicate with him/her.
- Before beginning a celebrity Dream request, we will have a trained volunteer meet you so that we may learn more about you and why meeting this celebrity is so important to you.
What is an emergency Dream?
- If the life expectancy of the applicant is two months or less, we consider the dream to be an emergency. These requests can be faxed in, but the original still needs to be mailed. Please call us for our fax number.
- Emergency Dreams get processed the day we receive them and are verified ASAP
- If an emergency Dream is for a bedside reunion or similar, our turnaround time can be within 24 to 48 hours.
- Emergency Dreams can not be celebrity Dreams.
- If an emergency Dream requires travel by the applicant, we will consider a road trip within limited boundaries only.
Are there certain types of dreams you do not fulfill?
We do not grant the following types of Dreams:
- Requests for adults with chronic illnesses – with the exception of individuals with a clinical prognosis of 12 months or less
- Requests from individuals living outside the USA and Puerto Rico
- Surprise Dreams
- Legal assistance
- Cash/Financial assistance
- Funeral arrangements or posthumous requests
- Automobiles, Lifts, Repairs, RVs or Rentals
- Travel outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. On a case-by-case basis we may allow one-way travel outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico for patients who wish to die at home
- Property, home improvements, repairs or housing assistance
- Medical treatment/supplies/equipment/transport
- Any Dream request in violation of the rules, policies or procedures of our organization or that of our corporate partners, in effect from time to time
Please keep in mind – Dream Foundation reserves the right to its sole and absolute discretion to cancel/change preparation or fulfillment of the Dream at any time after signing the Agreement if the organization feels the Dream will endanger the health or safety of the recipient. Therefore, we ask that all Dreams be realistic for the recipient and for Dream Foundation to fulfill.