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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Foundation Grants Dying Grandma's Last Wish

Christmas 2006 will bespecial for Carol Vandehey, although she is likely to die before December 25. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a lethal combination ofbronchitis and emphysema confined Carol to Beaverton Rehabilitation Center until Signature Hospice social worker Maureen Sharp-Escudero facilitated Carol's move back to her Beaverton, Ore., apartment.

Now Carol will spend herfinal days surrounded by family and hospice professionals. Still, Carol hadone last wish and last week, a national program made what she thought wasimpossible a reality. The Dream Foundation funds the hopes and wishes forterminally ill adults. This nonprofit has given Carol gift cards to buy Christmas presents for her family. On November 30, around 11 a.m. for the first time since Easter, Carolwill leave her bed. Accompanied by her daughter Debbie, she will enjoy lunch and with a little extra help, shop for family gifts at Washington Square Mall in Tigard.

Thanks to Mark Hunter, general manager of The Cheesecake Factory, a special reserved table and a complimentary lunch will be waiting for Carol and caretakers. Afterwards, Carol will use her gift cards for Christmas presents for her 10 grandchildren and five adopted children.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has taken its toll on Carol. Using oxygen she can take only five steps without assistance. On her November 30 shopping trip, she will have little time and require help tomake her holiday gift selections. Medical transportation vehicles, donatedby American Medical Response will take her to and from Washington Square,where executive staff have made extraordinary efforts to make this lastshopping trip as accessible as possible for her. Store displays will bemoved and areas cleared to accommodate Carol's needs.

"Because of the Dream Foundation, I can accept this gift and accept mydeath. I have had a good life and Signature Hospice has made sure that evennow, my life is full. I wish everyone can be supported like this," saysCarol.

Signature Hospice headquartered in Wilsonville, Ore., supports terminallyill patients and their families by providing a holistic team of healthcareprofessionals dedicated to comfort care. Signature Hospice is the onlyend-of-life program in Oregon with trained volunteers to ensure that no patient dies alone.

The nonprofit Dream Foundation, says it is the nation's first and largest wish granting organization for adults battlingterminal illnesses. The agency's goal is to ensure that no adult, whose life may end prematurely due to terminal illness, must ever pass from this Earth without realizing one final wish from the heart.

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