Make a Dream Come True!

Make a Dream Come True!
by William L. Bulla

Children dream of many things! Things they want to do now! Things they want to do when they grow up! Things they would like to have! Some of us continue to dream at a much older age! However, many of us by then, know these dreams will never happen. And as we hear the children's dreams we know many of them will never happen. Particularly, when we know those children, with dreams, are stricken with a serious or life-threatening illness. Those dreams just can't happen.
But, wait! Those dreams can happen! They are happening because of a special organization, Dream Come True. This organization exists to grant the wishes of those special children.
Dream Come True is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization founded in 1986. Its sole purpose is to benefit children, between the ages of three and eighteen, with serious or life-threatening illnesses. It serves Washington County, Maryland and the surrounding areas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
A statement found on the Dream Come True website, www.dctrue.org, states "We believe that helping these special children gives meaning and hope to our lives. We cannot change fate, but we can put a sparkle in a child's eye, a smile on his or her face, and hopefully give a memory that all will cherish. We do this by granting each of them a dream come true."
And since its inception in 1986, Dream Come True has fulfilled the dreams of nearly one hundred special children in the tri-state area. These children have dreamed of many things. Gloria Weisz, a member of the Board of Directors, has been with the organization since its inception. She stated that most of the children want to visit Disney World in Florida. But she indicated that they have had some unusual requests over the years: an above ground swimming pool, an outdoor playground, a waterbed, and meeting sports celebrities. Also, there are requests for stereo systems and computers.
The organization's contact with the child does not end with the fulfillment of the dream. It continues with birthday cards, small gifts at Christmas, and cards during hospitalization periods.
Larry Messer, president of Dream Come True said, "It all started with an idea of a couple of guys and it has built from there. More and more people have become involved. It is sad to know that most of the children will not be with us for long, but it is a very rewarding to see them smile when their dream comes true."
Michelle Mower, of Shippensburg, whose daughter, Jennifer, has a rare medical disorder was amazed with the response she received when she contacted Dream Come True." I saw an ad for Dream Come True on TV, and called them," she said. "They responded quickly, investigated Jennifer's condition, and came out to talk to her. It was not a visit to me to find out what Jennifer wished for, but they came out and talked right to her. I was so happy with the way they presented themselves." And Jennifer's dream of a TV on its own stand, with DVD and VCR player came true before she was sent to the hospital for her operation.
Jason Worthington, of Smithsburg, said, "They're amazing! What an incredible group of people! It was unreal the way they visited my daughter, Emma, and arranged for our entire family to visit Disney World. It was her dream and its fulfillment has meant so much to her."
One major source of revenue for Dream Come True is the Classic Car Group for Children. These classic car buffs get together every Saturday night behind the Valley Mall with what they call a "car cruise." That's when they gather to admire one another's restored and customized cars, show them off to the public, do a bit of socializing and raise money for little children with life-threatening illnesses. The car owners pitch in a few dollars to participate in the event, put out a jar for contributions from the crowd, sell raffle tickets and 50/50's to raise funds for Dream Come True. Sometimes there are 200-300 cars participating in the "car cruise." They also have an ice cream truck and their own sound system playing music for the crowd that comes to see the autos, visit and have fun.
Messer said, " This car group is a bunch of great guys. In the past 9 or 10 years it has donated over $40,000 to Dream Come True. We are so thankful for the support the group gives us."
Dream recipients and their families gathered together recently at Antietam Recreation for its annual Dream Come True picnic. The picnic honors those children who have previously received the fulfillment of a cherished dream through the efforts of the Dream Come True organization.
For more information on Dream Come True, visit their web site at www.dctrue.org or call 301-791-1010.