The Families
 

Brochure
Family Wish Request

The Families We Have Helped In Creating Memories -

The Taylor Family

 

Wish Fulfillment Request is a Trip to Disney Orlando, Fl. 

On December 8, 2017 our world came to a screeching halt. Don and I sat in the radiology department at the local hospital awaiting scans of his chest and abdomen. The following day we received a definitive diagnosis…cancer. To be more specific, small cell renal carcinoma and it wasn’t confined to the kidney. The days, weeks and now months have been a blur. A complete removal of one kidney and adrenal gland, gamma knife on a brain met, immuno and chemotherapy treatments, physical therapy and countless appointments with doctors, surgeons and drug trial administrators took over our lives. Once we were able to face the fact that this likely means that he will be unable to be here for our daughter’s milestones in the future, we had the hard conversation of what are the “bucket list” items. Number one on the list was to take Faith to Disneyworld. She has been a princess from day 1. As soon as she could walk, playing dress up filled her days and Disney princesses were always a favorite.

                I spent a lot time working and reworking the numbers in our budget to figure out when and how we were going to make the trip happen. This was something that Don and I discussed only with each other, we hadn’t mentioned it to family or friends. Much to our surprise, our sister-in-law was thinking the same thing. While sitting in the waiting area at Roswell one afternoon, I received a text from her asking me to call her as soon as possible. I stepped into the hallway and dialed her number. She excitedly began telling me about Dreams to Memories and that she reached out to them on our behalf asking them to send us to Disneyworld. I rejoined Don in the waiting room with tears streaming down my face and barely able to speak enough to tell him why I was crying. It took some time to work out the details, but our SIL is persistent. Not only did she keep on top of the progress from the Dreams to Memories side of things, she approached our extended family to raise spending money for us for the trip. We knew it was meant to be when she called to say they could send us on these dates in July. Neither she, nor Dreams to Memories, was aware that we had already scheduled that time off but hadn’t made plans as to what we were going to be doing during it.  

                The week before we left, our family met with Jim and Gail at their home and learned about what was in store for us. Jim presented us with a folder with pictures of a few of the things we could expect along the way. Faith sat quietly between us, not fully understanding what was happening. Jim talked to us about flight, hotel arrangements, tickets, meal plan, and a wheel chair. There would even be a limo that would be picking us up from and returning us to our home before and after our trip.  As we continued to talk to Jim, Faith timidly reached across the table to take the folder. She flipped through the pages until she came upon the image of the hotel room…The Little Mermaid themed hotel room. This was the first time I think she truly started to see what wonderful things were on the other side of that scary plane ride. All we heard about for days was the Ariel room.

             &

The Westra Family

Wish Fulfillment Request is a Trip to Disney Orlando, Fl. 

Dear Dreams to Memories, 

It is extremely hard to put into words just how much this trip to Disney World meant to our family.  We had dreamed of being able to take our four children there "someday", but once I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in February of 2017 it seemed an impossible dream due to medical bills.  We didn’t realize I had Leukemia until an illness ran through our family and I just couldn’t seem to get better.  I was sent to the ER once evaluated by my nurse practitioner, and after blood work was done, was sent by ambulance to Roswell.  We were in shock when they explained it was cancer.  I ended up in ICU for about a week, then I was an inpatient for about four months.  I returned home for a couple of months, and then was an inpatient again for a few weeks for a Bone Marrow Transplant.  I came home in August.  I have continued to have clinic appointments about 3-4 times a month.  My bone marrow donor is my brother and he is a 100% match so we are extremely hopeful the transplant will take care of the Leukemia. 

Throughout this past year we have had an incredible support system.  Family, friends, neighbors, church family, and strangers all have helped us.  My aunt, mother-in-law, and mom, who eventually moved in with us until November of 2017, all spent time staying with our family as my husband had to continue to work full time.  Even with all of this support there has been an incredible strain on our family.   I remember my husband having double bags under his eyes as he'd come to visit me once our kiddos were in bed, and sometimes after late shifts at work.  He wanted to be home as much as possible outside of work for our kiddos, and then to see me as much as possible at the hospital.  It was about three weeks before I was well enough for our kiddos to visit me at Roswell. Our kids visited me when they could, but it was really hard.  I remember having a hard time staying awake, and them being hesitant with me across the room.  I know I looked pretty scary, no hair from chemo, being hooked up to an IV, and of course one time needed a blood transfusion when they visited.

Cancer impacted our family in ways I never understood others went through before.  There was a huge disconnection between myself and the rest of my family.  I wasn't asked by my kiddos for help with anything for a long time, even after I returned home.  They had gotten used to my hubby or mom being the ones who would help them.  My husband and I had a disconnection as he became my caregiver and once my mom moved back home has been doing my "jobs" as a homemaker plus his own.  Because I am immune suppressed from the Bone Marrow Transplant, we've had to ask our kiddos to do a lot more in helping to keep the house clean, washing hands and lots of reminders to "use Purell!" I’ve missed a lot of things I used to do with them. Doctor&

The Carr Family

 Wish Fulfillment Request– A Trip to Atlantis, Bahamas

The Carr family approached us recently asking us if they were eligible for a wish. Calvin (dad) was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) in 2010. Since then Calvin has had a bone marrow transplant and other complications.

Calvin and his wife Joy have two children, Brendan and Ryanne.

The family had a wonderful awesome time down in the Bahamas. Following is a the Story of the Family Wish Experience told by Joy Carr.

 

 

"There’s a foundation, Dreams To Memories USA, which grants wishes to children of a parent who is fighting a life threatening disease. They understand that a family dealing with a complex medical issue may not have the disposable income for a vacation, which is the exact situation in our case. Our last family vacation was in 2008 before Calvin got sick. I applied on behalf of Ryanne in late 2016. Ryanne was granted a wish to go to Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas.

A limo from Advantage Limousine picked us up bright and early on Monday morning. It was a gorgeous, sunshiny day when we touched down. DtM arranged everything down to the small details like extra legroom on the flights for Calvin, and transport to the resort from the airport. 

This is the first time Ryanne and Brendan have seen the ocean. (View from the plane.)

The hotel upgraded our room to an ocean view. The full-wall window opened and the sounds from below were heavenly. 

The first thing both kids wanted to do was hit the waterslides. First up, Leap Of Faith! They then made their way to other slides, and Calvin and I joined them for The Current river ride.

There’s a huge aquarium that’s accessible both from the hotel we were in, and outside the hotel. The kids went snorkeling with tropical fish, rays, and sharks.

There were several beaches at the resort. We first went to an inlet cove beach, which was very calm. Ryanne found a fish by the rocks and was chasing it around. It nibbled her toes until it decided to take a serious nip at her ankle. Much screaming and highstep running ensued, which naturally had me wheezy laughing. She then retreated to the shoreline to build a sand castle.

Calvin went back to the room during the heat of the afternoon, and Brendan went as well to keep an eye on Calvin. Ryanne and I moved from the protected, tame inlet beach to the main beach on the ocean.

Calvin was able to watch Ryanne’s Dolphin Experience on Wednesday afternoon and then went back to the room to nap. He woke up not feeling well so the kids and I went to dinner and he stayed behind.  He ended up quite sick. Thankfully I was armed with a small pharmacy so we were able to get things under control. He still wasn’t well when we departed on Thursday afternoon but made it home okay.

Ryanne and Brendan actually got along and explored the resort together in the evenings. And naturally they made friends with some cats that were living on the grounds.

The Gibson Family

Wish Fulfillment Request – Disney World in Orlando, Florida Family of four from Blasdell, NY

Michelle (Mother) was diagnosed with cancer, left behind a 13 year old Joe and a 16 year old Charity.

The Bork Family

Wish Fulfillment Request – A Family Fun Night

Family of five from Cheektowaga, NY – John Bork was diagnosed with ALS in June 2007. John and his wife Lynne had three children, 15 year old Jessica, 12 year old Ashley, and 8 year old Mitchell.

Chapman Family

Wish Fulfillment Request – A Trip to Disney World

The Chapman Family of 5 from West Seneca, NY – Mother with an inoperable brain tumor.

Thanks to Sorrento Cheese and Advantage Limousine for their donations to helping to make this dream to become a reality.

Wendel Family

Wish Fulfillment Request – A Trip to Disney World

The Wendel Family from Wilson, NY – Mike (the father) was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. Mike and his wife Tammy have a 7 year old son named Matt and a 16 year old daughter named, Nicole.  

Below is a testimony from Tammy

May 2012

I want to relate how one of our families has dealt with the death of their husband/father and how instrumental Dreams to Memories were in the family’s recovery.

I had heard about the Wendel family from a friend of mine that works at the school their 6 year old son Matt attended.  Mike, who had beat cancer two years earlier, was having an occurrence of colon cancer with no option of surgery and given one to two years to live.

I first met with Mike and Tammy while they were living in the parsonage of their church.  They had lost their home as he could not work and his wife, Tammy, was taking him to appointments and keeping the family together.  I encouraged him to fill out the forms not for himself but for his children.  I told him that our goal is to give the family some happy experiences they can remember in the dark days that were surely ahead.  He was determined to beat this cancer again and I told him if he did that was absolutely wonderful but to think about the children and fill out the forms.

It took a lot of convincing by his wife and brother but he finally filled out the paperwork and was approved for a Dream…  They had decided to go to Hershey Park because hot weather adversely affected Mike, however, he ended up hospitalized for a few weeks when they were supposed to go and the trip was changed to Disney World in October 2010 instead which was Mike’s favorite place.

The whole family went on that trip which included Mike, Tammy, 7 year old Matt and 16 year old daughter, Nicole.  They had a wonderful time.

After they got home from Disney Mike’s health started to deteriorate at an alarming rate and in a little over a year he died. 

A few months later I ran into Tammy who asked me to relate this sorry to everyone who made their Disney trip possible.

Tammy told me that after Mike died Matt was so angry he did not want her to say his name.  Her daughter began college as a freshman three weeks after his death.  Everyone was grieving but not in a healthy way. 

After Tammy received Mike’s life insurance she paid off all the debts of his illness and there was a small amount left and she decided to use that money to take the three of them back to Disney World. 

Tammy said the kids she took to Disney were not the ones she brought home with her.  They were different children.  They got to Disney World and they started to think about all the good things and the fun they had there with their Dad.  They could talk about him and laugh about things they had done together there on vacation.  Their whole outlook had changed and they had stopped grieving and begun remembering the good times. 

This is why we do what we do.

An update: June 2014 -  I spoke to Tammy and she told me they just had come back from Disney World again.  She said that they all feel closer to Mike there and that her and Matt had both had mini breakdowns one night but at least the grief is coming out and not being kept inside especially for Matt who is now 10.  She still says that she doesn’t know what would have happened without Dreams to M

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