Reach For A Dream: 30 years of realising dreams

THE Reach For A Dream Foundation has been making the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses come true for 30 years.

Other Reach For A Dream (RFAD) projects include the Camp Sunshine, Queen for a Day and Captain Courage, where these brave children can take part in activities with other children who are fighting similar battles, away from the hospital environment.

RFAD Port Elizabeth branch manager, Michelle van Huyssteen, said, “A child’s dream is not merely a dream.

“A child’s biggest dream can be to have a baby doll, but we will go all out, creating a magical day for the child and adding all the special elements to their dreams, for example giving her the doll, with a pram, doll’s clothes and much more.”

Currently, some of the most popular dreams are bedroom makeovers, electronic devices (cellphones, tablets, laptops) and shopping sprees.

If possible they try to involve the siblings of the child, so if the dream is an outing, the family members will accompany the child.

The children who qualify for dreams are referred to RFAD via the child’s doctor.

Fieldworker Noluvuyo Gagyi liaises with the doctors and goes to the hospitals and/or family homes to meet the little dreamers.

“On the first visit I make a point to always give the child a little RFAD teddy. It builds trust and it gives them hope. They can give the teddy a hug when they feel down and it gives them the assurance that when we leave we will definitely be coming back.”

Dream coordinator Heather Mazomba said some of the most outrageous dreams include a little boy who wanted Spiderman to stop traffic in a busy street.

“It took some doing, but eventually it was exactly what the little dreamer wanted. Also there was a girl who wanted to see snakes. And although both her mom and I were terrified of snakes, we pushed through because the most important thing is to realise the dreamer’s wish.”

Mazomba also recalls the girl who wanted to be peacekeeper in the army. “The dream took place in Bloemfontein, where the girl was taken in an army tank, and suddenly there was a ‘riot’ taking place, giving her the perfect opportunity to negotiate peace with the ‘rioters’. It was all staged of course, but she believed it was really happening and she was so proud and happy afterwards.”

Van Huyssteen said that often people ask how they can get involved in RFAD. “People offer to donate toys, but often we don’t know what the children’s wishes would be, so it is better to support dreams in the form of monetary donations, vouchers, airtime or data. Other ways to assist are to support Slipper Day in May each year, or to become a volunteer.”

Since January, the team at RFAD has fulfilled 110 dreams, while 164 dreams were realised last year.

The latest dream was that of a little boy named Angus (4) who loves big bakkies, in particular the Ford Ranger double cab. Reach for a Dream staff, with the assistance of Ford at Eastern Cape Motors, and the RFAD Joburg Ladies Lunch, made little Angus’s dream come true.

Last Wednesday the friendly staff at Ford let him “buy” his own bakkie, with all the paperwork in place, and he “drove” off in his own toy version of a bakkie. The little bakkie even has its own set of keys, and can be controlled by mom with a remote control.