Granting Wishes to the Underserved Population of Chronically Ill Children
By Dream Factory on September 26, 2016
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According to the American Childhood Cancer organization, an estimated 16,000 children between birth and the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer each year. It is estimated that 35,000 children are currently in treatment for cancer. This means that approximately 50,000 children each year are eligible for their wish to be granted. However, this does not include chronically ill children, which are estimated to be 15% of the population under 18 years old. Only approximately 22,000 children get their wish granted each year through all United States wish-granting organizations, meaning more than 50% of children are waiting for their dream to come true each year. The population of chronically ill children is generally underserved by wish-granting organizations, which restrict their missions to children with terminal diseases.
Founded in 1980, Dream Factory is the only children's wish-granting organization in the U.S. that does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illnesses. The Dream Factory believes that children with chronic illnesses, disorders and disabilities such as type 1 diabetes, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, immune deficiency disorders, HIV, etc., also suffer from substantial emotional and physical pain. Their families bear the burden of often over-whelming emotional and financial difficulties. Many of these children will miss out on a normal childhood as they face countless days, weeks, and months in and out of doctor’s offices, treatment centers, and hospitals. We can’t get rid of all pain and sorrow for kids with critical and chronic illness, but we can add joy to their lives. Mental health is a very important aspect when it comes to battling a critical or chronic illness. Having a dream granted has a very positive impact on the mental health of a critically or chronically ill child and provides them with a little bit of hope and happiness. We work hard to provide these children with a little light during their dark days.
Hope, Happiness, and Fuel to Fight
Facing a critical or chronic illness is a great mental and physical stress on these children and their families. The Dream Factory’s sole mission is to grant the dreams of these children facing day-to-day struggles, to provide them with a little bit of hope, happiness, and fuel to fight through the days, months, and years ahead.
Childhood cancer and a diagnosis of a chronic disease during childhood is much more common than most people think. 15% of the U.S. population under the age of 18 suffers from a chronic illness and around 16,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. This means that it is very likely that the average American knows a child and family who are directly affected by a critical or chronic illness. Having a dream granted makes a huge difference not only in the life of the child fighting an illness, but also in the lived of their family members.
“There is a benefit from receiving a dream, period. There is power in a dream that makes it possible for a child to express themselves and to show what they are passionate about; it gives them the ability to be themselves again, to get away from their illness if only for a little while. These children suffer on a day-to-day basis and if we can take away even just a little bit of that pain and sorrow it is worth it. That is why we work so hard to make dreams come true,” says Todd Fairbanks, National Director/CEO, Dream Factory.
Making a donation to the Dream Factory can provide your family, your friends, or your neighbors with an opportunity to spend much needed, and hard to get, quality time together as they face each struggle associated with living with a critical or chronic illness. Critical and chronic illnesses don’t just affect the children of strangers, they affect people that you know and love and you can make a difference in their lives.
How You Can Help
Without having something as magical as having their dream granted these children facing critical and chronic illnesses can go through life losing hope. These families can spend the rest of their days together never being able to spend quality time together outside of a hospital or doctor’s office – they may never be able to get away from it all, if only for a little while. Supporting the granting of dreams can provide these children with the fuel to fight through the hardest days.
The Dream Factory works to grant as many dreams as possible each year, but we can’t do it alone. With your support we will be able to make a difference in the life of a critically or chronically ill child. We can provide this child with a life-changing experience that they would otherwise never have. Here are some ways your donation can help:
- $20 – Travel gifts for one child for airplane and car rides
- $50 – Spending money for one person for one day in central Florida
- $100 – Dream child “send-off” party
- $350 – Rental vehicle for dream family
- $750 – Average cost to visit attractions while on a dream trip
- $1,000 – Average cost for family’s hotel accommodations
- $2,000 – Airfare for a family of 5
- $2,500 – Shopping spree for teenager at local mall or store
- $3,000 – Cruise accommodations
- $6,000 – Average cost to fulfill a dream
Our thanks to Dream Factory for sharing their mission and impact with us. You can learn more about their work at http://dreamfactoryinc.org. To support their efforts, please donate to Dream Factory through your company's employee giving program (CFC#12127 if you're a military or federal employee participating in the Combined Federal Campaign).
If your company would like to start a workplace giving program to support nonprofits like Dream Factory, click here. We have a portfolio of solutions designed to help large and small organizations give back to the causes they care about.