Dream Stories

Dream Stories

Making Dreams Come True

for children with life-threatening illnesses

Dream Stories

The Power of a Dream Fulfilled

Every year, thousands of families are given the news that their child has cancer or some other life-threatening illness. Many of them live right here on the First Coast. For these families, life is instantly changed. School days are replaced with hospital stays, play dates are exchanged for radiation treatments, and the simple joy of watching their child sleep silently in bed is now shadowed by the fear that he or she may not reach another birthday.

Dreams Come True exists to help these brave children and their families find a momentary reprieve from the stress and struggles associated with battling a serious illness. We do this through the fulfillment of dreams. For some children, that’s a special day at Disney World or a shopping spree in New York City, but it can also be something as simple as a new furry friend. Dreams bring hope and light to families facing some of their darkest days, and can give these amazing children the strength to defy the odds. That’s the true power of a dream fulfilled.

If you would like to help fulfill the dreams of local children battling life-threatening illnesses, please visit our Get Involved page to learn more about how you can make a difference. You can also donate online today!

Where Are They Now?

Rudy Wells

“I woke up to a morning that would change my life forever.” Those were the typed words from Rudy Wells’ letter to Dreams Come True in 2020, recapping the start of his journey with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the impact Dreams Come True would make on him and his family. We are honored to share with you Rudy’s full letter, which discusses his medical journey, the impact of his dream, and his goal for the future. His words below truly express the POWER of a dream.

I woke up to a morning that would change my life forever. My stomach was in a knot as my mom stared in shock at the bruises that covered my entire body. I still remember the anxiety and tension in her voice when she called my dad to explain how sick I appeared. I had a smile on my face when we picked up my dad from work on our way to the hospital. We made it through the main entrance, I could not hold on any longer, I collapsed losing consciousness. I slowly woke up to the sound of the steady beat of the heart machine and three blurry figures talking about my condition. I will never forget my dad asking “Is there any way that you can give this to me so my son does not have to go through this?” I soon discovered that I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After enduring years of intensive chemotherapy, cranial radiation, and many hospital stays, I was able to make a full recovery.

Through my journey, I have been able to experience much joy through several nonprofit organizations that have truly made a difference in my life. One of which being Dreams Come True. My family and I enjoyed a trip to Disney World and Sea World, having so much fun in the process. This trip allowed us to take a step away from treatments and have an experience of a lifetime. I think of the fond memories of meeting all the Disney characters, riding all the rides, and seeing my family happy. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for the wonderful experience and the time I was able to spend with my family in the face of such an eye-opening experience.

From a young age I have wanted to make a difference in the live of families that are battling childhood cancer. During my life, I have had the privilege working with several nonprofit organizations with the same goal of helping these families. My ultimate goal is to become a pediatric oncologist so that I can inspire hope, compassion, and care. I am happy to announce that I am graduating from medical school and I will be entering University of Florida’s Jacksonville pediatric program where I will be training at Wolfson’s Children Hospital with the hopes of specializing in pediatric oncology.

Thank you for helping me reach this point in my life and the compassion that you have showed and will continue to show to so many families.  My hope is that you will continue to hear more inspiring stories and understand the value that you have added to so many lives. 

We are excited for Rudy as he works toward fulfilling his goal to be a pediatric oncologist and inspire hope, compassion and care. We are honored to be part of his journey and know that he experience of his dream is still making a difference.

Learn how you can give back to help children realize their dreams, by visiting our Ways To Give page.

 

Meet Some of Our Dreamers

Since 1984, Dreams Come True has fulfilled the dreams of more than 4,000 local children. We actively work with more than 400 families each year, planning and scheduling upcoming dreams. The Dreamers below represent some of the children who are still deciding on the perfect dream, or have see their dreams turned into realities with the help of our generous sponsors and donors. We thank you for taking the time to watch these short videos and getting to know a little more about their journeys.

dreams come true

Hartley’s Story

dreams come truedreams come true

Rian Dreams Big

dreams come true

Jake’s Journey

dreams come true

Rue’s New Friend

I’m Dreaming Of…

Dreams Come True never turns away a child or puts them on a waiting list because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. But, we can’t do it without your help. The typical dream averages $3,300 to $7,200, depending on the number of family members and the complexity of the dream. We are actively seeking individuals, schools, groups and companies to help fund the following Dreamers who have yet to experience the power of a dream fulfilled.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Hedden Photography

Jacob L

Jacob L.

Age 9

Diagnosis: Paraplegia

Area of Town: Orange Park

“To learn he had been given a dream was so exciting to him and our family. It helped motiviate him through this recovery.”

— Jacob’s Family

Ji’Mya

Ji'Miya

Age 10

Diagnosis: Sickle Cell

Area of Town: Northwest Jacksonville

“I think Dreams Come True is the best ever!! They are wonderful angels and truly make dreams come true.”

— Ji’Mya

Norah

Norah

Age 5

Diagnosis: Spina Bifida

Area of Town: Riverside

“Dreams Come True is incredible. Everyone who works there has a special gift for loving children and making them feel special.”

— Norah

Ryan

Ryan

Age 17

Diagnosis: Brain Tumor

Area of Town: Flagler County

“Dreams Come True is an amazing foundation that brings joy and happiness during trying times. We have had some of the happiest memories made becase of Dreams Come True. They distract the scariness of the situations we are faced with and bring a sense of relief, even if it is just for one day.”

— Ryan’s Family

Zion

Zion

Age 13

Diagnosis: Germinoma

Area of Town: Northwest Jacksonville

“Dreams Come True is a blessing in so many ways. They make you feel very special and I would love to donate to them when I get older.”

— Zion