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Press Release

Solari Hospice Care to Partner with DreamCatchers to Make Hospice Patients' Dreams Come True

Published on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 (11:43 a.m.)

DreamCatchers Expands to Las Vegas to Grant Wishes of Hospice Patients

Solari Hospice Care to Work with DreamCatchers’ Teams at Local Las Vegas Schools, Colleges

Las Vegas, Nev. – July 20, 2012 – Imagine that you have only six months or less to live and that you are given the opportunity to make “one last wish.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that wish could come true?

That’s the idea behind the DreamCatchers program, which was founded by University of Notre Dame student Caitlin Crommett in 2009 when she was merely 16 years old! A hospice volunteer since the age of 12, Crommett felt like she wanted to do more for the patients she served, but didn’t know how. Then, as fate would have it, she happened to see the movie “Patch Adams,” in which a medical student helps a senior citizen fulfill her lifelong dream of jumping into a pool of pasta. Inspired to do all she could to make her hospice friends happy, she launched a “DreamCatchers” club at her high school in California with the purpose of connecting local students with their community hospices to grant the final wishes of patients who are terminally ill.

Within the past three years, Crommett’s small club has grown into a 501(c)(3) organization with several DreamCatchers clubs in California and Indiana that have fulfilled dozens of dreams for hospice patients – ranging from a hot air balloon ride to an afternoon sailboat adventure to a lavish “tea party” to a day at Disneyland. (See website for more dreams fulfilled: www.dreamcatchers1.com). Now, Crommett’s dream is to expand the DreamCatchers program nationwide, with the goal of launching programs in five new major metropolitan cities this summer. She arrives in Las Vegas this week with plans to meet with Solari Hospice Care and local students. In addition to Las Vegas, the organization plans to set up Dream Teams in Phoenix, Ariz., Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C.

“I’m touched and inspired by the work that this young woman is doing,” says Candis Armour, R.N. executive director, Solari Hospice Care. “Being able to team up with DreamCatchers to work with students at our local schools and colleges and offer a program like this to our Solari Hospice Care patients would be fantastic! DreamCatchers is such a grassroots effort. The possibilities are endless. It’s very exciting.”

The concept of DreamCatchers is simple. Family members or caregivers submit a form describing the dream of a hospice patient. The local Dream Team then evaluates whether the dream can be fulfilled, coordinates schedules, and works with the local hospice to address specific care needs as the day of the dream arrives. Upon completion of the event, the patient receives a dreamcatcher as a memento. The dreamcatcher serves as a symbol of good dreams and was chosen by Crommett because it reflects her Native American heritage.

Crommett said she chose to bring DreamCatchers to Las Vegas over other cities because of its growing elderly population.

“The elderly age group makes up a high percentage of hospice patients, so this city would give us a broad range of people to serve,” says Crommett. “Also, the city itself is so alive and filled with so many opportunities.”

Crommett, who was recognized as a “Kindhearted Kid” on The Bonnie Hunt Show and recently named a “Local Hero” by Reader’s Digest, said she has been amazed and surprised at people’s reaction to the DreamCatchers concept.

“I had no idea that so many people would be so receptive to the idea. I think people are drawn to it because it’s, in a way, a new concept, because a lot of charities are focused on children with life-threatening illnesses and they forget about adults and the elderly. In Las Vegas, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Solari Hospice Care as we expand the outreach of our program nationally and help more people enjoy one last magical moment in their lives.”

Crommett, who is a double major in business entrepreneurship and film/television/theatre, will be in Las Vegas from July 21-July 27 and is accompanied by Katie McElligott, a fellow University of Notre Dame student majoring in finance and economics.

“I cannot think of a better way to put my time off from school to good use than to work with a program like DreamCatchers,” says McElligott. “We really hope to reach as many people as possible and help communities across the country. I’m passionate about working with Caitlin to expand the organization nationwide, find corporate sponsors and promote the general mission of the program.”

For Crommett, DreamCatchers has “become a part of who I am now, because I love granting dreams. I hope that as many people as possible can have the opportunity to experience the joy that comes from helping these wonderful people like I have. My vision for DreamCatchers is that it will become a nationally-known foundation with many students across the U.S. involved in granting dreams for hospice patients. I hope that it will serve as a bridge between generations, as students everywhere can give back to the communities that raised them. I want to help people believe in happy endings again, and I hope that DreamCatchers can give them that hope.”

Solari Hospice Care, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in Las Vegas this year, is devoted to helping people live with dignity and comfort by providing trusted and professional hospice care. Focused on enhancing the quality of life for patients and their loved ones, Solari’s exemplary team of physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses, certified nursing aides, social workers, administrative staff, counselors and volunteers are specially trained to offer the most compassionate and comforting care designed for each patient’s unique needs. For more information about Solari Hospice Care, call 702-870-0000, visit www.solarihospice.com or follow @SolariHospice on Twitter or Facebook.

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