Press Releases » Dream Foundation


Bill Medley, KT Tunstall and David Ryan Harris to Perform at Dream Foundation’s 13th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala, in Honor of Foundation’s 20th Anniversary

Santa Barbara, CA – October 14, 2014 – Dream Foundation – the only national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – is delighted to announce that Righteous Brother, Bill Medley, and Grammy nominee KT Tunstall will perform at the 13th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala on November 8th in Santa Barbara. Also joining Dream Foundation’s 20th Anniversary celebration will be singer/songwriter, David Ryan Harris, whose music ranges from folk to rhythm and blues, and world-renowned DJ, Chris Cox appearing for his second straight year.

Bill Medley and his ‘Righteous Brother,’ Bobby Hatfield brought the world such favorites as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Unchained Melody.” As a duet with Jennifer Warnes, Medley released “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” which earned them both a Grammy and Academy Award. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, Medley inspires with his words, voice and spirit. “We are honored that legendary Bill Medley will be taking the stage at this year’s celebration,” says Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation’s Executive Director. “His signature baritone will certainly be unforgettable, and we are grateful to have such an amazing talent join us in honoring our dreamers and their families.”

Singer/songwriter KT Tunstall first astonished the world with her 2004 live solo performance of her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” Since then she has released five albums internationally, worked on various movie soundtracks including 2005’s The Devil Wears Prada’s opening hit, ‘Suddenly I See,’ ‘Miracle’ for Winter’s Tale and ‘We Could Be Kings’ from Disney’s Million Dollar Arm. Tunstall received a Grammy Award nomination in 2007 among various other award nominations and wins. “We are thrilled to have the wonderfully gifted singer/songwriter KT Tunstall join our 20th Anniversary Celebration of Dreams,” Heyer says. “We know her powerful lyrics and authentic vocals will inspire and move us all.” In addition to her contributions to Dream Foundation, Tunstall is an active environmental campaigner, and joined an expedition to the Arctic Circle in 2008 with Cape Farewell, a British-based arts organization that brings artists, scientists and communicators together to instigate a cultural response to climate change.

David Ryan Harris will also be a part of the elite line-up. Experimenting with various instruments before he found the guitar and performing since the 80’s, Harris has worked with such talent as Dave Matthews Band, Santana, India Arie, Guy Sabastian, John Mayer’s band, and numerous others. Earlier this year, Harris released “Lightyears” a follow-up to his album, “Bittersweet.” Harris will engage and delight with his soulful work ranging from folk to rhythm and blues.

For the second year in a row, Grammy-nominated producer, award winning remixer and DJ, Chris Cox will be offering his musical talent to the gala’s after-party, which will be held in the grand lobby of the Bacara Resort & Spa. Attendees can expect a full dance floor with this master of remix.

“With such an array of talent, Dream Foundation will celebrate its 20th Anniversary and fulfillment of more than 20,000 dreams with the support of our friends, both old and new,” Heyer says. “It speaks volumes to have such an extraordinary and diverse group of artists come together in support of our mission, passion and continued efforts.”

Held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara on the evening of November 8th, the event will honor John Paul DeJoria who will receive the 2014 Dream Foundation Humanitarian Award and leading biotechnology company Genentech, who will receive the 2014 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award. Celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters will gather to enjoy a night of heartwarming dream reflections, unparalleled entertainment, and both a silent and live auction. Net proceeds are vital to supporting the program, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions, grants and in-kind gifts. Dream Foundation has never turned down a qualified dream request.

John Paul DeJoria and Genentech Honored at Dream Foundation’s 2014 Celebration of Dreams Gala

Santa Barbara, CA – September 23, 2014 – Dream Foundation – the only national adult wish-granting organization for individuals and their families suffering life-threatening illness – is pleased to announce its 2014 Celebration of Dreams Gala honorees. The 20th Anniversary celebration will recognize Humanitarian Award recipient, John Paul DeJoria and the 2014 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award recipient, Genentech.

Best known as the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patrón Spirits Company, John Paul DeJoria has made a significant impact through his vital contributions to Dream Foundation programs, helping dream recipients and their families since 2002. “John Paul DeJoria is a caring and accomplished humanitarian who has helped bring peace, comfort, and closure to countless dream recipients and their loved ones through the fulfillment of final dreams,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “A true humanitarian, he lives each day by his renowned philosophy that ‘success unshared is failure,’ and he has demonstrated this in the time and resources he’s invested in making the world a better place for our dreamers.”

In addition to his generosity toward Dream Foundation, DeJoria supports a multitude of organizations dedicated to helping others. John Paul launched the solely-funded philanthropic venture, Grow Appalachia, which aims to empower the hunger-stricken people of Appalachia by providing skills and resources to grow, prepare and preserve organic, nutritious food.

DeJoria has not lost sight of his humble beginnings, and regularly supports the Los Angeles community where he grew up. His ongoing support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where he spent much of his time as a child, includes funding the renovation of his hometown, Echo Park, CA Variety Boys & Girls Club location. He also takes great pride in his support of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Chrysalis, dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. John Paul routinely visits the center to share his story of change and provides generous financial support.

Genentech has been a Corporate Partner in Dreams since 2006. The leading Biotechnology company is committed to treating diseases beyond scientific development by helping patients realize their dreams. Through Genentech’s highly successful employee volunteer program, more than 1,000 team members have served as dream hosts to ensure dreams are delivered with joy, an embrace and a celebration. “We are thrilled to express our gratitude to Genentech, whose philanthropic support extends beyond generous funding,” Heyer said. “Their invaluable support for the Dream Foundation mission has helped to inspire hope and provide joy in communities across the nation.”

The Celebration of Dreams Gala will be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara on the evening of November 8th. Celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters will gather to enjoy a night of heartwarming dream reflections, unparalleled entertainment and both a silent and live auction. Net proceeds are vital to supporting the program, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has never turned down a qualified dream request.

Dream Foundation to Fulfill Terminal Navy Veteran’s Final Wish to Revisit Battleship He Served on During Korean War

Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Gerald Bowman’s dream to walk the decks of the battleship he called home during the Korean War—60 years since his last tour.

With a prognosis of less than one year due to advanced stage heart disease, Bowman, an 82-year- old Elkins, Arkansas resident and Korean War Veteran will take his daughter – also his consummate caregiver – on a momentous journey through history. Together they’ll travel to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to board the (DD-724) Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer where Bowman served as Machinist Mate for more than three years. The pair will receive a private tour and luncheon, as well as the opportunity to meet with the press and record an oral history interview, which will be archived at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum for future generations. The USS Laffey is now a National Historic Landmark ship.
At 10 a.m., Friday, March 1, Bowman and his daughter will arrive at Patriots Point, where he’ll receive a warm welcome and participate in the following activities:

• 10:15 a.m. – Meet the acquaintance of his “Dream Hosts” for the day: Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum Public Information Officer, Ashley Smith; Patriots Point volunteer, Edgar “Hoot” Gibson, a fellow Tin Can Sailor and former crewmember aboard the USS Rich; Hardee’s® Regional Vice President, Steve Hallman; and Hardee’s® Human Resources Manager and Vietnam Veteran, Mickey Church.
• 10:30 a.m. – Board the USS Laffey and walk the decks uninterrupted. Proceed to dedicated interview area to meet with members of the press.
• 11:00 a.m. – Receive a special VIP tour of the USS Laffey, including the working and living spaces where he spent time as a crewmember.
• 12:00 p.m. – Enjoy a special private luncheon aboard the ship.
• 12:45 p.m. – Record an oral history interview.

Dream Foundation will be providing airfare for Bowman and his daughter from Fort Smith, AR to Charleston, SC, as well as financial assistance for their five-day stay. The Hampton Inn Mt. Pleasant-Patriots Point has generously donated hotel accommodations.

“We were recently watching a television special about Dad’s naval ship, the USS Laffey, and how they were docking her at Patriots Point,” Bowman’s daughter, Kim Billings, writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation. “He became so excited and started telling me stories and said, ‘Oh how I would love to walk her again.’ He told me he could even show me which top bunk was his.”

According to Dream Foundation spokesperson, Erinn Lynch, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Bowman’s final wish is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share this momentous occasion with Hardee’s® and our national dream host volunteers.”

Bowman had served in the United States Navy from 1950-1954. Upon being recruited, he reported to San Diego, where the USS Laffey sat in a dry dock shipyard and his task was to assist in repairing the damage it had sustained during World War II. Two months later, he accompanied the battleship out to sea, where his service included three tours in Korea.

“Part of our mission at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is to honor the brave men and women who have answered our nation’s call—heroes like Mr. Bowman,” said Patriots Point Executive Director, Mac Burdette. “Through our efforts each day, we are working to educate visitors about the service and sacrifice of our veterans and we are keeping their stories alive. It is our distinct honor to welcome Mr. Bowman back aboard his beloved ship, the USS Laffey; and we are proud to partner with Dream Foundation and the Stars for HeroesTM program in this endeavor.”

As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in Santa Barbara, 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 Carol’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 their Stars for HeroesTM campaign.

“As part of our ongoing effort to support a cause that is important to our customers, employees and franchisees, it’s our pleasure to partner with Dream Foundation through our Stars for
HeroesTM fundraising campaign to help rally behind our nation’s veterans and fulfill their final dreams,” said Jenna Petroff, public relations and social media manager for Hardee’s® and Stars for HeroesTM program administrator. “We’re honored Dream Foundation chose us to present Gerald with his dream package at his home in Arkansas, as well as accompany him on his tour of the USS Laffey. Our franchisees and employees are excited to celebrate this dream with him.”

According to Dream Foundation, the CKE Restaurants, Inc. partnership not only helps fund the veteran segment of their dream service demographic, it enhances the experience for the dreamer and all who are involved.

Young, Advanced-Stage Cancer Patient Will Realize His Final Dream to See the San Francisco 49ers Playoff Game

Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill lifelong 49ers fan, Felix Vargas’, final wish for the ultimate San Francisco 49ers experience. The Richmond, CA resident – who grew up the sole football lover in a family of soccer enthusiasts – will be present at the NFC Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers 5 p.m., Saturday, January 12.

Vargas, 22, has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents. He received his diagnosis at 17. Now, five years later, he is coping with the additional diagnosis of lung cancer. As his illness has progressed, Vargas has “refused to let it bring me down,” he writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation Fulfills Dying Student’s Wish to Continue His Education at Home Despite Terminal Prognosis

Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill Dominic Henriquez’ final wish to continue his college coursework in Computer-Aided Drafting (C.A.D.) from home, regardless of having had to take a leave of absence due to his illness.

At 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 5th, Dream Foundation volunteers from the Los Angeles- and Amsterdam-based company, 72andSunny – a Dream Foundation corporate Partner in Dreams – will arrive at Henriquez’ home, presenting him with the Hewlett Packard computer he needs for his studies. To enhance the delivery of this dream, the volunteers will also surprise him with a pizza dinner, and gifts supporting his passions for photography, music and movies. Dominic’s mother and three younger brothers will also receive gifts they’re not expecting. Press is invited to cover this dream delivery.

Henriquez has been diagnosed with end-stage brain cancer and given a prognosis of six months or less.

“This has changed my life from a good dream to a nightmare,” he writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation, while maintaining a determined response to this tragedy. Considering regular hospital visits, limited mobility, strained vision and fatigue he acknowledges it would be easy to neglect his scholastic pursuits all together, but instead continues, “I’m not gonna let this battle stop me from my dream!”

Obtaining a home computer was essential, but due to mounting medical costs and other financial constraints, it never would have happened without the assistance of Dream Foundation.

“Dominic should serve as an inspiration to all students,” says Dream Foundation Director of Communications, Erinn Lynch. “His drive to continue learning despite his terminal prognosis is a beautiful reminder of the gift of knowledge and education.”

Henriquez’ Westech College instructor, Nestor Terrill, has inserted himself as a mentor figure, allowing the student to continue the coursework at his own pace, and making himself available for submission of assignments by email, and by Skype, phone – or even in person – for any other assistance.

Terrill will assist Henriquez with setting up his computer at home.

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