Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's official! Dalton Cyr named National Ambassador for The Dream Factory!

(Press Release)

The Dream Factory, Inc., a national dream fulfilling organization for critically and chronically ill children, announced that award-winning teen recording artist Dalton Cyr has been selected as a National Ambassador for the organization. Cyr, just 13 years old and managed in L.A., is already touring and working on his second album. He has been named one of the most promising songwriters in the world and has fans in 149 countries.

A rising singer/songwriter from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Cyr will be added to the Dream Factory’s list of celebrities who bring big hearts and a commitment to making dreams come true for critically ill and chronically ill children aged 3 through 18 years old. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization which has granted more than 25,000 dreams, is the largest organization to grant dreams to chronically ill children and the second largest children’s wish-granting organization in the United States.

Anne Bunger, National Director and CEO of The Dream Factory Inc., says, “With the exposure that Dalton’s celebrity will bring to our organization, we hope to increase the number of Dream Factory chapters while adhering to the wishes of our founder that it remain a volunteer organization. As a National Ambassador Dalton will help increase our public exposure so that we may locate more children and be able to grant more dreams. In the process, we believe we will attract the attention of individuals who are looking for a rewarding opportunity, as well as national and corporate sponsorship.”

Dream Factory National Board Member, Laura Walitsky approached Cyr with the idea while he was in New York during his East Coast tour this summer. She says, “As a teenager who is overcoming obstacles to beat the odds and make his dreams come true, we believe Dalton has a perspective that will enable him to relate to sick children who face challenges every day and persevere. We are seeking respected, influential, members of our society to help promote our organization and demonstrate to these kids that they can dream big and that dreams can come true. We believe Dalton fits that bill.”

Cyr says, “I’m very honored and proud to represent The Dream Factory. Through my performances for Wolfson Children’s Hospital, I’ve met kids who work so hard just to survive. They inspire me. As a National Ambassador, I hope to help make more dreams come true and inspire people to start Dream Factory chapters when there isn’t one in their city or join in helping existing chapters.”

If you are interested in learning more about The Dream Factory, would like to find out about volunteer opportunities, start a chapter, know a child who may be eligible for a dream, or would like to make a financial contribution, please visit www.dreamfactoryinc.org , email dfinfo@dreamfactoryinc.org, or call 1-800-456-7556. For more information about Dalton Cyr visit www.daltoncyr.com.

About The Dream Factory: The Dream Factory (a 501(c)(3) organization) is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization devoted to granting the dreams of critically and chronically ill children aged 3 through 18. The Dream Factory operates with 37 chapters and more than 5000 volunteers. Founded in 1980 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the organization does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illness. The organization believes that children with chronic illnesses and disorders also suffer from substantial emotional and physical pain. It has grown to become the largest organization to grant dreams to chronically ill children in the United States, and the second largest children’s wish-granting organization. Relying on the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations, the organization accomplishes its mission through cash and in-kind donations along with the help of thousands of volunteers. Ninety percent of all money raised by The Dream Factory is used to grant dreams, a record recognized as a four-star charity, the highest rating given by Charity Navigator. For more information, visit www.dreamfactoryinc.org .

About Dalton Cyr: An award winning singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist, Dalton Cyr has toured the East Coast, Midwest and South. His debut 11-song album, “I’ll Be There” was entirely written or co-written by Cyr and songs for his second album, co-written by Cyr, were recorded with multi-platinum producer Paul Fox (10,000 Maniacs, REM, Ziggy Marley, Phish) and an all-star cast of musicians including drummer Josh Freese (Sting, Guns-n-Roses, Dixie Chicks.) Hand-picked by international talent scouts, he was named one of the world’s most promising songwriters. A high energy performer who instantly captivates audiences with his powerful guitar and intense vocal delivery, his original music uniquely merges pop and rock with infectious hooks, and immediately grabs people’s attention getting them out of their seats. He’s appeared on NBC, ABC, & FOX TV, NPR Radio and multiple radio programs and been featured on the cover of Folio Weekly Magazine, Jacksonville Magazine, Florida Times Union and numerous other newspapers and publications. His music can be found on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Google Play and many others. For more information visit www.daltoncyr.com.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Louisville's Dream Factory Marathon and Half

Twelve weeks and counting… The marathon (and half-marathon) that runs along the Ohio River in Louisville each fall has a long tradition, but this is the first year The Dream Factory has come on board as the benefiting charity, including the naming rights. And we’re very excited!!! Please help spread the word: Louisville’s Dream Factory Marathon and Half is Sunday, Oct. 20. It is now 12 weeks away. We’re aiming for 2,000 runners between the two races with the cap at 3,000. The course starts and finishes at American Turners off River Road with the flat, fast layout staying near the river for a majority of the route. Both races start at 8 a.m. The cost of entry into the marathon is $70 until July 31, $80 until Sept. 30 and $90 up until race day. For the half, the registration cost is $50, $60 and $70. Awards will be presented to the top-three male and female finishers overall, along with the top-three in each age category for both races. Part of the proceeds will be donated to The Dream Factory. Visit the race’s website at www.dreamfactorymarathon.com for more information or to sign up. Inquirers may also contact Tommie Kendall with The Dream Factory at 502.216.0378 or tommie.kendall@dreamfactoryinc.org, or Todd Heady with Headfirst Performance at 502.550.9553 or todd@headfirstperformance.com. Twelve weeks is still plenty of time to get ready to go the full distance of half so lace up your shoes now and head out the door. Also, tell all your running buddies about the race to help spread the word, or newbie’s looking for their first half. Increasing the numbers means helping The Dream Factory, both as a marketing tool to reach out to potentially thousands of people and as a financial gain. Louisville’s Dream Factory Marathon, Oct. 20!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Kisses from Abigail

We at The Dream Factory love hearing feedback from our “dream children” following a return from a vacation. Abigail, age 6 from our St. Louis Chapter, was particularly touching. Abigail visited the Sunshine Foundation on June 27 through July 3 with her family, including her parents, 8-year-old brother, 3-year-old sister and aunt. During their stay at Sunshine, they had three days at Walt-Disney World, one at SeaWorld and one at the beach. Following were her mother’s responses to a questionnaire following their return:

What was your child’s best part of the dream? Magic Kingdom: Small World Ride, Haunted Mansion, seeing Mickey, and by far the lights parade following the fireworks show.

What was your child’s favorite thing about the Dream Village? Abby loved the pool. It was a great ramp to walk her in and out. She did not want to stop swimming.

How has having this dream come true affected your child? Abby is tactile defensive and usually does not seek kisses, etc. like my other two children. She very, very rarely seeks kisses, almost never. At the Disney Parade, I asked her how she liked everything and she leaned forward and gave me the biggest kiss on the lips. (I cried, so special.)

Do you feel that having this dream come true improved your child’s health in any way? Abby definitely slept better; had a hardier appetite; was in high spirits for most of the trip.

According to her family, Abby was emotionally happier and upbeat, interactive with being open to trying new things and her expressions were laughing, smiling and singing. They also pointed out her pain/discomfort decreased with “less crying spells.”

How did this experience affect you and/or your family? We have not had a vacation since Abby was 2. This trip was like a refreshing rain after a very long drought. We have been able to enjoy and spend time with one another in the most wonderful setting. To Abby, life is a big party – she loves parades, music, fireworks – to experience all that was a dream come true!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Central Missouri's BIG event!

One event nets $109,287.42! Here’s how…

On April 12, 2013 the Central Missouri Dream Factory Chapter hosted the 5th annual charity poker tournament in Columbia. For the first time ever, the event sold out, welcoming more than 230 poker players from the local community to a packed venue for a night of Western themed fundraising. Participants were able to choose from three levels of registration: (1) High Roller buy-in  - $150 (2) Regular player buy-in - $75 (3) Non-player fee - $50.
After all the participants had time to enjoy some of the catered food and grab a few drinks, the night was kicked off with an hour of tournament play. Throughout the first hour, rewards were given to the players with the first full house, straight, etc. These prizes included gift certificates to local restaurants, bars, salons, and entertainment centers. Our event sponsors were introduced by Dream Factory volunteers, emphasizing the presence of Veteran’s United for their incredible donations to the Central Missouri Chapter. Veteran’s United has donated $10,000 per year while acting as the presenting sponsor each year since the charity event first began in 2009.
The live auction, which brought in roughly $30,000 throughout the night, began after the first hour of play and was split into two sets of five items each. Some items of the auction have become so popular over the last few years that they are considered trademarks of the event and are highly anticipated by all who attend. For example, a painting done by Madeline Horrell, a dream child of Central Missouri, sold for over $3,000 at this year’s event and has been just as popular in the past! Madeline has been using art therapy as a method of rehabilitation following the removal of numerous brain tumors; a story she shared with our audience. The live auction is concluded with an event favorite, the paddle raise “Build-A-Dream” item, encouraging those in attendance to contribute to a portion of a dream by donating $1,000, $500, $250, or $100.
As the night progressed, participants begin losing their pots and the pool of players grew smaller and smaller. This year, the final table of the poker tournament concluded around two o’clock in the morning and the winner was awarded his hefty trophy.  By the end of the night when all donations had been tallied and expenses deducted, the Central Missouri chapter of the Dream Factory had raised a total of  $109,287.42. With so much funds raised, the chapter will be able to support 25 kids and their families for a dream!
None of the success from Central Missouri’s charity poker night would have been possible without the hard work of the volunteers who organized the event as well as the strong support from their local community.  In January 2013, Dream Factory volunteers Tim Bach, Erin Heath, and Paula Stuebben resumed their weekly meetings with six employees of some of the events most involved donors: Veteran’s United, Landmark Bank, and the AddSheet. The same group has worked together for the last few years to plan and improve the poker tournament each year and in years to come. January marks the beginning of the four months of planning required to organize such an exciting and elaborate event. After allowing themselves one night of food and celebration, the team of volunteers is already back to work planning to make a 2014 tournament which will be even more successful than 2013!

Submitted by:
The Central Missouri Dream Factory

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

mAAgic Flight 2013!!!

The Dream Factory is very excited with the recent announcement that we will be participating in mAAgic Flight again in 2013! This marks our fourth year involved in the program, which helps support organizations like us by making a memorable experience for children and their families with a vacation-style dream to Give Kids The World in Orlando, Florida.

mAAgic Flight is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity sponsored by American Airlines and The Something Magic Foundation, providing a week-long stay at the magical village at Give Kids The World, including nearby theme park attractions. For 2013, the families will be flown into the Orlando Airport from all over the country on Friday, Sept. 20, and not depart Give Kids The World until the following Thursday. There are a total of 40 children from six different organizations this year.

As for The Dream Factory, we’ve been selected to fill 11 of those slots from 10 different airports. Below is our specific breakdown:

Dallas Fort Worth
JFK (2 families)
Kansas City
 Raleigh Durham
San Antonio
St. Louis

Thanks to American Airlines, The Something Magic Foundation and Give Kids The World for making these dreams possible. Let the planning began!!! We want to make this the best mAAgic Flight experience to date!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why I continued on

Cresting a hill at around the 23-mile mark in the Louisville Derby Marathon on April 27, my legs felt wobbly, my breathing was a little heavier than it was a few miles earlier and my entire body ached with each step onto the hard pavement below. I continued on.

I had survived the early miles – much flatter miles with what seemed like much prettier scenery. (It is strange how this happens, how your body has the ability to comprehend and appreciate its surroundings when you’re feeling energetic, but then this ability vanishes with fatigue.) I had run my loop inside Churchill Downs at around eight miles – I was even told afterward that glimpses of my stride were seen on our local television station running around the famed racehorse track. Later, at around the halfway point, I smiled going into and out of the hilly Iroquis Park. When I reached flatter ground again, I had settled back into a manageable pace that I was hoping was fast enough to get me to the finish line under my goal time of three hours but not so fast that I would crumble before I reached that 26.2-mile stopping point. I constantly checked my watch for feedback. And now, with just a 5K left – a distance I had raced so many times before – my mind was sure I was going to make it, though my legs told me otherwise. I continued on.

Rewind just two months and I was in one of the best shapes of my life. My race preparation was clicking just right and tune-up workouts and races indicated my fitness level was on my par with what I did before I ran my best marathon in 2010. But a knee injury almost exactly one month before race day changed all that. Instead, I had to take three weeks completely off from running and when I returned back, an easy run felt taxing and the race was less than 10 days away. I adjusted my goals but was still nervous heading into this one, not sure how my body would hold up in the later portions of the race. As I crested a big hill with 5K remaining, I found out. But I continued on.

With each step during that last three-mile stretch, my calves, quads and hamstrings seemed to pull loose from their bones. Even my arms felt the strain of the race. This is the point where your mind oftentimes drifts but also the point where you have to focus on something to get you to the end – for me, that focus was The Dream Factory. I thought about all the children I had been helping to grant dreams for during the past few months, the hardships they face on the daily basis, and I continued on. It didn’t give me any extra strength, didn’t allow me to dig deeper down and find some power I had in reserve – there was none – and it didn’t cease the pain from existing. The cramps were still there. But it allowed me to endure. This was nothing compared to what these children face, I thought, and continued on. By wearing The Dream Factory Marathon Team jersey, I was representing something much larger than a marathon in itself. It gave this race a little more meaning and provided me that extra incentive to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I crossed the finish line, which ended up being faster than my pre-race goal.

Now that the race was more than one week ago, I’ve had time to reflect on that last 5K – the real tough point in the race. My job has blessed me in so many areas of my life, put so many things into perspective, and on marathon day it blessed me even more. I know it’s on a smaller scale than those families I work with on a daily basis, but I was able to push on because I was representing The Dream Factory. And that – the logo and words written across my jersey, the ones I glanced out continuously in those final miles – is the reason I continued on.

Written by Tommie Kendall, The Dream Factory Director of Program Services. Thanks to all those runners who represented The Dream Factory in the Louisville Derby Marathon. If you’re interested in running for The Dream Factory Marathon contact Tommie at tommie.kendall@dreamfactoryinc.org or visit www.dreamfactoryinc.org/marathon/

Monday, April 15, 2013

Change is here!

The Dream Factory is happy to announce that our new website is in the final stages of completion and will be launched during the week of April 15-20. Thanks to Custom Web Choice – based in Louisville, KY, near our National Headquarters – for developing and maintaining the site at www.dreamfactoryinc.org. The new site is very user friendly and has the look we want to reflect our wonderful organization. Make sure to check back often! Also, support our Social Media outlets on this blog and at www.facebook.com/dreamfactoryhq and www.twitter.com/hqdreamfactory. Like/follow these accounts and “SHARE” them with all your friends. These are where you can find regular updates and all information pertaining to The Dream Factory. With these changes, among others, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of The Dream Factory! Please help spread the word!