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Wish-Granting Dream Foundation In Need of Airline Miles

The Santa Barbara nonprofit is working to fulfill 134 final dreams, with more than 50 requiring travel

The Dream Foundation, the first national wish-granting organization for adults in the end stages of life, is calling upon the national community to donate airline miles to help fulfill travel-related final dreams.

From a small office in Santa Barbara, the Dream Foundation is working on 134 dreams — with more than 50 requesting travel, to allow for reunions, goodbyes and final family trips. The airline tickets associated with these dreams alone would require more than 5 million airline miles.

During the past 16 years, the Dream Foundation has encountered many “firsts,” including being the first wish-granting organization to serve the needs of adults battling life-limiting illness and their families. Unfortunately, this “first” is not of the celebratory variety — as is this is first time the organization’s airline mileage resources have been depleted because of an increasing demand in dreams.

“The good news is that the awareness of our mission is expanding, and families are finding their way to our services,” foundation founder Thomas Rollerson said. “Yet to be able to fulfill these dreams — and maintain a track record of never having to turn away a qualified request — we are in desperate need of mileage contributions and donations.

“We are reaching out to those who took a ‘staycation’ this year, travel a lot for work and have accumulated miles, or have just few miles with an airline they don’t often use. It’s easy to donate any amount of Alaska, American, Continental or United miles by going to our Web site at”

In August, 16 years after the fulfillment of its first dream, the nonprofit organization will realize its 10,000th dream. In celebration of 10,000 dream recipients — and their heartfelt final wishes — the Dream Foundation, along with Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, is asking the national community to continue to take part in the 10,000 in ‘10 challenge.

In honoring 10,000 fulfilled dreams, the Dream Foundation is aiming to collect 10,000 gifts in 2010. Gifts can come by way of a contribution of $10 or more, 10,000 donated airline miles, 10 volunteer hours and other “10-themed” gift options found on the Dream Foundation Web site.

“We have all been touched by loss,” Bridges said. “By making a donation of any kind to this campaign, not only are we helping other families prepare for loss, we are allowing them to make the most of the time they have left. I don’t know of a greater gift.”

The Dream Foundation maintains a four-star rating by Charity Navigator and strives to bring joy and comfort at the end of life’s journey. Dream recipients — age 18 or older — have been given prognosis of a year or less of life and are often financially depleted as a result of their illnesses. The Dream Foundation collects funds and resources to fulfill the dreams of nearly 10,000 adults — and their children/families — across the country.

“This is truly the best way we could honor our dream recipients,” Rollerson said. “Those who have had their dreams fulfilled are the most invested in seeing us to carry on our mission. So often we receive cards and humble donations from our dreamers beseeching us to help others. No one knows better the importance of the service we provide than they do.”

— Erinn Lynch represents the Dream Foundation.

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