New club at Dixie State makes dreams come true for terminally ill seniors

ST. GEORGE — Members of a new Dixie State University club are making dreams come true one person at a time.

DreamCatchers is a national network of high school and college clubs whose purpose is to grant wishes for terminally ill seniors. Dixie State freshman Shaq Daniels discovered the organization during his sophomore year of high school in Mesa, Arizona. In coming to college, Daniels told St. George News he just couldn’t leave it behind.

“There are so many smiles that I have seen out of the patients that I’ve helped that I couldn’t see before,” he said. “When you’re first meeting them, they don’t have huge smiles, but then by the end of their dream, everyone’s happy and the patients are overjoyed.

The network, Daniels said, has become a large part of who he is, and when he approached his school’s club adviser, they told him he could take DreamCatchers with him. Daniels started his freshman semester at Dixie State in August with the dream of starting the club but no idea where to start.

He began to talk to his friends about the organization and some of the wishes he took part in granting. It wasn’t until talking to his now vice president, however, that they were able to get the ball rolling.

The Dixie State University Stephen and Marcia Wade Alumni House in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University Marketing and Communication, St. George News

Only a few months after its beginning, the local chapter will be granting its first wish Saturday for a retired semi-truck driver living in Hurricane known only as Kenneth. Kenneth — who went by “the Doctor” over the CB radio — became a patient at Dixie Home Hospice after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his dream was to ride in a semi one more time.

“That’s what he remembers the most, and that’s what he enjoyed doing,” said Monique Hansen, Kenneth’s nurse.

The Dixie State DreamCatchers have heard his wish, and with the help of the national offices, the club has arranged for a semi to pick Kenneth up at his residence Saturday morning. Kenneth will arrive at the Dixie State Alumni House and be greeted by a small group of friends and family to enjoy his favorite foods: hot dogs and ice cream.

“A lot of times the patients, they are just in their home sitting,” Hansen said. “It just gives them a little bit of excitement for the day, something to look forward to, some memories they want to make or something they’ve never done.”

The organization and its local chapters are nonprofit clubs that raise money through fundraising to grant wishes around the community. With this being the Dixie State chapter’s first wish, founder Caitlin Crommett offered to help pay for the first two projects.

DreamCatchers members are scheduled to meet Thursday to review the list of hospice patients with special wishes and begin to plan their second event.

“Some dreams are very small, some are big,” Daniels said. “Each dream is unique to each patient, and that makes it really awesome, granting an actual dream for somebody.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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