We all know that the Make a Wish Foundation helps make dreams come true for children with a terminal diagnosis. What some of us may not be aware of is that there’s an organization that grants similar wishes to adults facing the end of their lives: the Dream Foundation.

The dreams of Santa Barbara resident and young mother of two, Belmi Tepeque, will come true this month when she travels to Maui with her family for one last dream. After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Tepeque, a 22-year-old wife and mother to 4-year-old daughter, Genesis, and 8-month-old son, Isaiah, contacted Dream Foundation for help in making her final dream come true – a family trip to Hawai‘i. With a few short months remaining, Tepeque reached out to the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, in hopes of creating lasting memories with those she loves most.

“Genesis loves the ocean so much that she comes home every day, puts her bathing suit on, and asks when we are going to the beach,” Tepeque wrote to Dream Foundation. “A trip to Hawai‘i will allow us to create memories together, ones that will last forever, in her mind and her heart.”

“Nearly one-in-three people who turn to us to make their final dream come true have children under the age of 18 living in the home,” said Dream Foundation’s chief executive officer Kisa Heyer. “Throughout the last 26 years, we have seen over and over again that the dreams they ask for are about the emotional legacy they want to leave behind. We hear from family members years later who tell us how much the memories of those dreams still mean to them.”

Tepeque’s family will travel to Maui thanks to the support and generosity of Dream Foundation’s sustaining partner, Alaska Airlines. Coconut Condos, a vacation rental agency that has hosted Dream recipients and their families since 2012, will provide luxury accommodation. Drums of the Pacific will be donating lu‘au tickets and Trilogy Excursions will be taking the family on a whale-watching excursion. Dream Foundation staff visited Tepeque at Hospice of Santa Barbara on Friday, February 19 to celebrate her life and present her with everything provided for the family’s Dream trip to Maui.

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort, and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations, and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 32,000 final Dreams over the last 26 years. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding; it relies solely on private donations.

Image courtesy Flickr-Frank Hamm

Suzanne Kayian is a Maui-based writer, public relations specialist and social media zealot. With more than 20 years experience, Suzanne has contributed to a variety of publications ranging from local independent...

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