Dream Foundation began fulfilling Dreams for terminally-ill adults in 1994. Since its founding the organization has fulfilled over 25,000 Dreams. You can donate miles or points from United, Alaska Airlines and Southwest to help support their important mission.
Similar organizations were arranging “wish” experiences for children with life-threatening diseases, but there was not a companion organization offering the same opportunities to adults. Dream Foundation was born out of that need, and it has never turned down a qualified applicant.
Dream Foundation’s funding comes entirely from private donations and corporate sponsors. That means that the organization relies on individuals like you to help it complete its mission to provide terminally-ill adults and their families inspiration, comfort and closure through end-of-life Dreams.
Dreams can be as small as paying a heating bill or organizing a family reunion, or as big a meeting a hero or taking a vacation. Tristan Layton, Director of Corporate Partnerships & Marketing at Dream Foundation, says that one of the most important things they can offer the Dream recipient is “a brief respite away from their illness” so they get a break from the daily stress and pain they have to deal with.
The partnerships between Dream Foundation and its airline sponsors are particularly vital because many dreams involve travel. Without the support of the airlines and donations from frequent flyer program members, it would be difficult to fulfill those dreams.
Emily Wheatley, Manager of Programs at Dream Foundation, emphasizes the importance of any donation, regardless of its size. It doesn’t matter if you give “500 miles, 1,000 miles or 300,000 miles, those donations get pooled together and each gift is significant in fulfilling dreams.”
Three Airlines and Three Dreams
Sandy Lahmann is one of the many people who have benefited from the generosity of United and its MileagePlus program members. During her initial battle with adenocarcinoma, Sandy’s daughter Tory returned home to help during her treatment.
Tory, who is an avid athlete and triathlon competitor, one day asked her mother if she wanted to go for a run. After a lot of work and training, Sandy was eventually able to return to running and completed a 5K trail run with her daughter.
Unfortunately, Sandy’s illness worsened, but she wanted to see her daughter compete in the XTERRA World Championship in Hawaii and participate in one last 5K with her daughter while she still could.
With the help of Dream Foundation, United and MileagePlus member donations, Sandy was able to attend the XTERRA events in October of 2016. As Sandy put it, completing the trail run “showed me that I am not a helpless victim of my cancer and can still enjoy life, even with this hideous disease.”
John Lechowicz, a terminally-ill Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force for four years, is another Dream recipient. He wanted to see the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. before he died. To fulfill his Dream, Dream Foundation partnered with the Honor Flight Network. Both organizations are supported by Southwest and accept Rapid Rewards points as donations.
In September 2016, John and his caretaker, a fellow Vietnam veteran, were flown to Washington where they visited the Vietnam, World War II, Korean War, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force memorials. John was able to find some closure by being able to touch the Vietnam Memorial and reconnect with fallen comrades.
Sharon McGregor’s dream was simple. She wanted to enjoy one last vacation and visit Disneyland with her family. Thanks in part to Alaska Airline’s support and Mileage Plan member donations, she was able to do that. Dream Foundation was able to provide Sharon and her family with airfare, hotel accommodations, passes to Disneyland and Universal Studios and extra spending money.
Before leaving, Sharon said she was looking forward to the trip because it would offer “a time when reality stops and talk of death and pain is set aside, replaced instead by excitement, smiles and joy.”
If you have United, Alaska or Southwest miles or points, consider donating them to Dream Foundation. Even small donations can make a big difference in helping to provide transportation for terminally-ill adults, giving them a chance to find closure and perhaps momentary relief from their illness. The work that Dream Foundation does with the help of these airlines and their frequent flyer members is irreplaceable and important.