Resources for Patients and their Families

Wish Fulfillment Programs

Cancer is stressful for everyone including not only the patient but his or her family members and close friends as well. When a cancer diagnosis is made, especially one of mesothelioma, there is a realization that time may be limited and it’s important to ensure that the patient’s remaining time be memorable and rewarding.

Throughout the last several decades, dozens of organizations have been formed that grant the wishes of people with terminal illnesses, providing trips and other perks for patients and their families so that they can spend time together or do that one thing they’ve always wanted to do.

About Wish Fulfillment Programs

Probably the best known of all “wish fulfillment” programs is that which is run by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This well-known organization has long been granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Granted wishes range from the chance to meet a favorite celebrity to week-long trips to Disney World and other popular kid-oriented destinations.

While Make-A-Wish caters to sick children, there are other organizations that fulfill the wishes of terminally ill adults, including those with serious cancers such as pleural mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma. Located around the country, these foundations can’t promise to fulfill every request they receive but they will take each into consideration if the request is reasonable.

“Reasonable” is the operative word when it comes to having one’s wish fulfilled. Requests should not be overly-extravagant and should represent the patient’s wishes, not those of the family. When making a request, it’s a good idea to have the patient speak to or write to a representative of the organization, if possible. However, if the family wishes to surprise the patient, it’s okay for a loved one to contact the foundation.

Before making the request, it’s important to consider the physical limitations of the patient. A cancer victim who has recently recovered from mesothelioma surgery, such as a pleurectomy, may not have the stamina to endure a 10-day tour of Germany, for example. But he may be able to enjoy a weekend excursion elsewhere. So be sure the wish matches the patient’s abilities before making the request.

Finding Wish Fulfillment Organizations

If you or your loved one has a particular wish that you/they would like to see fulfilled, check with your hospital social worker about organizations that may be able to help. Most of these foundations also have websites that explain their parameters and how they can be of assistance when it comes to granting wishes. Check out some of these fine organizations:

  • Never Too Late – Grants wishes to those over 65 and/or those who have a terminal illness.
  • Second Wind Dreams – Grants wishes to older adults in hospice care.
  • Reeling and Heeling Midwest – Hosts fly-fishing retreats for both male and female cancer patients throughout the year. Some retreats are also available to family members and caregivers.
  • The Dream Foundation – Grants final wishes to terminally ill adults (over 18).
  • For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation – Provides one-week, all expense-paid excursions to eligible patients and their caregivers to a location along the Eastern Seaboard or in the Caribbean. (for Pennsylvania, NJ, and Delaware residents only)
  • Forever Young - Reaches out to the elderly, including those in hospice, to help make their dreams come true.
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