Most have heard of Make-A-Wish Foundation – making dreams of ill children come to fruition. A few have heard of the Dream Foundation – offering inspiration, comfort, and closure to terminally ill adults and their families.
Throughout the past 29 years, the Dream Foundation has given life to more than 34,000 terminally ill adults dreams. The goal of the Foundation is to play a critical role in the special end-of-life care focusing on improving quality of life for patients and their families. This is done with the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations, and committed donors.
Recently, a patient at the Blue Water Hospice Home was a recipient of a Dream Foundation trip! Mary Balderston was able to fulfill her dream of traveling to Frankenmuth at Christmas with her granddaughters.
Mary came to the Blue Water Hospice Home after learning her colon cancer had progressed into a life-limiting disease. She doesn’t have family in the immediate area but wanted to be sure she was with others and the Blue Water Hospice Home fit her needs. Mary recently visited with her siblings, who live in the Gaylord, Michigan area. They had fun taking photos around the Christmas tree and telling stories. Mary enjoyed this, but her dream was to see the looks on her granddaughters faces as they experienced Frankenmuth at Christmas. Considering they lived across the country and with Mary’s diagnosis, she was sure this would not happen until…
The Blue Water Hospice Home was contacted by Mary’s daughter, Stefanie, requesting assistance in making one of her mother’s final wishes come true through an application to the Dream Foundation. Mary shared a dream of having a family vacation to Frankenmuth to take her two granddaughters to pick out ornaments and see their smiles as they experience Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, just as she did when Stefanie was a little girl.
The Dream Foundation was able to facilitate a family reunion, bringing Stefanie, her husband (Kyle), and their two children (Freya & Sabrina) to Michigan. Stefanie’s family lives in Washington state. The Foundation also provided accommodations at a local Airbnb for the duration of their stay.
The Blue Water Hospice Home and Dream Foundation collaborated to provide Mary and her family with gifts to share as a family during their time together. The staff at the Blue Water Hospice Home worked with The Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, who generously donated a two-night stay in a family suite for Mary and her family, they offered accommodations to make her stay as comfortable as possible and to ensure that the family had a memorable trip together – honoring Mary’s wish. The Bavarian Inn also provided a cart for Mary to ride during her stay in the city, as well as some toys for the girls.
Upon her return to the Blue Water Hospice Home, Mary was thrilled to share stories from her trip. When asked about her favorite memory she said, “being around the babies was the best; shopping at Bronner’s, watching their faces, they were in awe of all the lights, ornaments, and trees – it really brought them to life.”
The Dream Foundation serves terminally ill adults and their families by providing end-of-life dreams that offer inspiration, comfort, and closure. Learn more at www.dreamfoundation.org.
*Photos provided by Stefanie Chandos.