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13 Ways to Dream

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If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time on an airplane and in an airport.  And if so, you’re likely familiar with the various kinds of travelers: the “sales executive” earnestly working on an important pitch (or seeking a coveted wall outlet), the “honeymooners” freshly tanned and holding hands while sipping wine from plastic cups; the “Calgon mom” telling herself as much as the kids, “We’re almost there…”

For these travelers, a plane is an important means to a work obligation, a celebration, or a family vacation.  Yet, for the dream recipients we serve, it takes on an even more impactful role. Quite literally, a plane is the vehicle by which to realize a final dream. The space between takeoff and landing: the prelude to significant emotional closure. 

Dream Foundation is the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families facing life-threatening illness. Since 1994, we have been touching lives, meeting needs, reuniting families, and providing support at the end of life’s journey, with more than 13,000 dreams served.

Whether a dream is for a last vacation with children or an urgent bedside reunion, air travel is a critical component to our service.  Air travel ensures nothing is left unsaid, face-to-face, with all of the necessary exchanges, embraces, and heart-filled expressions it entails. Air travel allows coveted “bucket list” items – like the first sight of the ocean – to be blessedly checked off the list. Air travel promises that final memories with family and children can also be happy and fun-filled.

As we focus our resources on those who are unable to financially manifest their dreams on their own, a plane ride is often the first (and last) one our dreamers will ever take.  In the enthusiastic dream recaps we receive, air travel is a relished part of the overall dream experience.

Dream Foundation’s first contact with Southwest was a wonderful donation of 40 roundtrip tickets as part of a 1,600 ticket giveaway to nonprofits to celebrate 40 years of Southwest showing LUV to the communities it serves, which led directly to the fulfillment of precious final dreams.

As these “dreamers” walked through the airport and got on their planes, you may have not been able to identify them by type, but you would have recognized their expressions; filled with anticipation for a reprieve from illness, a beautiful destination…or precious time with someone they love.

As fellow ‘Nuts, we would like to share with you the wishes fulfilled by this particular gift of 40 flights:

Naomi, 45, and her spouse traveled to Nashville and met Dolly Parton                                                              

Julisa, 32, and her five children enjoyed a family vacation at the Orlando theme parks                             

Joel, 46, his wife and daughter visited Sea World Orlando (pictured at the airport, above)

Brenda, 69, received a visit from her two sisters                                                          

Arlene, 84, and her husband attended an Andrea Bocelli concert in Las Vegas                                

Evon, 51, took a trip to Disney World with her husband and son

Victrina, 54, saw the sights in Washington DC with her husband and sister

Susan, 52, enjoyed a Disneyland vacation with her husband and son

Chuck, 57, received a visit from his son and daughter-in-law, daughter, and two grandchildren

David, 40, experienced the magic of Disney World with his wife and son

Linda, 53, received a bedside reunion from her four children

Jessica, 29, had a family vacation in Orlando with her husband and four children

Stephannie, 34, took her husband, brother, and three children on a getaway to Florida

“We thank you from the depths of our hearts. It was truly a dream vacation. The flights down and back were uneventful; Southwest was awesome! Sea World was fantastic and Jadyn loved it so much!” – Joel

We are very proud to work with Southwest Airlines and pleased that Southwest has generously agreed to a year-long partnership to make dreams come true.  Thank you!