By Debbie Gregory.
In 1993, Thomas Rollerson phoned a wish-granting agency for children and discovered no such place existed to honor the final wishes of adults. One year later, with the support of his community, he created Dream Foundation.
When life is in the end stages due to terminal illness, the Dream Foundation allows people to reconnect with meaningful aspects of their past, and honor a life full of love, service and community.
Eighty-two-year-old Navy veteran Gerald was diagnosed with end-stage coronary artery disease. His dream? To revisit the USS Laffey at Patriot’s Point, South Carolina, the ship he had served on from 1950-1954. He had traveled the world on that ship and saw three tours in Korea during the war. His final dream was to grace the decks one last time.
Gerald and his daughter had that reunion experience, thanks to Dreams for Veterans. They received a special tour, catered luncheon, and the opportunity to share his stories in an oral history interview. Father and daughter then spent the weekend touring Patriot’s Point, where Gerald became an instant celebrity.
Founded in 1994, Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness. This year, the foundation launched Dreams For Veterans sub-program.
Final dreams range from basic needs items (scooters, lift chairs, laptops) to bedside reunions, final vacations with family, meeting a personal hero, or reconnecting with aspects of their former military service.
Granting these dreams shows appreciation for each veteran, acknowledging their service and sacrifices. Dreams for Veterans effectively tailors each dream experience for each individual veteran, providing the invaluable opportunity to honor a Veteran’s service while engaging, honoring and appreciating their families and communities.
To qualify for a dream to be fulfilled, you must be a U.S. military veteran, 18 years or older, with a life expectancy of 12 months or less, who lack the means to manifest his or her dream unassisted.
The Dream Foundation’s 14th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala will be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa on November 7, 2015. This event, which features sumptuous cuisine, high profile guests and spectacular entertainment, is considered Santa Barbara’s premier philanthropic celebration
The Dream Foundation relies solely on donations for corporations and individuals. To learn more about how you can participate in honoring and acknowledging a veteran dream recipient, or how you can help spread the word in your community, visit www.dreamfoundation.org/veterans or call (888) 4DREAMS/(888) 437-3267.