Helping to face challenging situations.
Help Fill A Dream Foundation often comes into the life of a family when things are at their worst. When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition a family’s focus becomes their child, their medical appointments and treatment; there’s no time for anything else. Since 1986 Help Fill a Dream Foundation has been supporting those families from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands whose lives have suddenly changed due to their child’s diagnosis with a medical condition or severe health challenge.
Support comes in all sorts of ways. When families are in survival mode the Bear Essentials program provides a lifeline. We try to pick up the practical and financial worry, allowing parents to focus on the most important thing: the health of their child. We provide medical equipment such as insulin pumps, orthotics and wheelchairs as well as home and vehicle accessibility modifications, travel expenses and accommodation. It’s not just practical support but also quality of life considerations, such as tutoring so a child doesn’t fall too far behind in their schooling, or technology to enable communication, even enabling an anxious child to have a pet nearby when receiving treatment away from home.
Putting a smile on the face of a child is a magical feeling.
After treatment is finished it is time for the child who has been through so much to have a Dream fulfilled. These Dreams are powerful things for children with life-threatening conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, childhood cancers or cystic fibrosis. It will often be a trip to a place they never imagined they would be able to go, or an experience they had long thought about but never believed could happen. Disneyland or Hawaii, meeting a Vancouver Canuck or touring Google HQ, the Dreams are as different as the children. To make them happen requires a lot of planning and negotiating, literally dream weaving, but mountains will be moved if necessary!
For parents the Dream symbolizes things that seem normal for most families, like watching your kids playing together and hearing them laughing: things that had seemed impossible during medical treatment. It’s life-changing stuff, the smiling and reconnecting; helping families who have been holding their breath – sometimes for years – to relax, even if it’s for just a short time.
Become part of our extended family.
The Help Fill a Dream family grows with every child helped. Recipients become part of an expanding family, staying connected, and becoming volunteers and fundraisers. The compassion and care carries forward, with the best advocates for the program those who can share their experiences and knowledge to another family going through a similar situation.
In the past year Help Fill A Dream has raised over three quarters of a million dollars, and over 300 families were supported. There is a good chance that someone you know has had their life touched by Help Fill A Dream. With donor support we can continue to make the impossible, possible. Never underestimate the power of dreams, or the role you could play in helping fill them.
Rick Thomas, Founder
Love can be found in many places; in the heart of a child, in the strength of a parent, or in the dogged determination of a total stranger. In 1986, Victoria transit driver, Rick Thomas, met a seven year old bus passenger suffering from a terminal illness. More than anything, she wanted to visit her grandmother in Nova Scotia. Rick was so determined to find funds to grant this young girl’s dream that he set out to make it happen. This first dream sparked the idea for something even bigger, and the Help Fill a Dream Foundation was formed within the year.
As a Victoria-based charitable organization, Help Fill A Dream’s mandate is to direct all monies raised to support Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands children and their families. Through the generosity of our donors, corporate sponsors and community partners, Help Fill A Dream has been able to make over 2,100 Dreams come true.