Dream Come True holds annual fundraiser Sunday
Brittney Clouse, left, talks with Kristal Nemeroff at the Dream Come True Blue Ridge Chapter's annual telethon last year in Jim Thorpe. Clouse and Nemeroff are both past Dream recipients. Clouse fulfilled her dream of meeting Hilary Duff, while Nemeroff went to Disney World in 1996. Nemeroff now co-hosts and performs at the telethon each year. The 2014 event raised $78,660 to fulfill future dreams. TN FILE PHOTO
The Blue Ridge Chapter of Dream Come True will hold its annual telethon Sunday night at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
Running from 5-9 p.m., the telethon will be televised by Blue Ridge Communications TV-13, and Service Electric Cablevision in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.
"There have been some amazing fundraisers in support of our chapter this year so we're hoping to beat last year's total," said Eileen Thompson, president of the Blue Ridge Chapter. "Our telethon gives us an opportunity to both thank the people who make those events happen and highlight our dream recipients of the past year. We've had a busy year with 17 dreams either completed or in various stages of the process."
Thompson said $78,660 was raised for the chapter by the end of the 2014 telethon with all funds used to fulfill dreams of seriously ill children in the local area.
Each year, Dream Maker Awards are presented at the telethon. Dream Maker awards were initiated to honor people, corporations and organizations that have gone above and beyond to assist Dream Come True in fulfilling its mission of providing a dream for every eligible child in its service area.
The 2015 award recipients are Compassionate Care Hospice, Ed's Appliances, Executive Auto Gallery Inc., Sue DeAngelo, St. Paul's United Church of Christ-Indianland, Joseph Lower, Julie Wagaman, West End Fire Company in Brodheadsville, Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, and James Pasquariello.
The average dream costs between $5,000 and $7,000.
"This year we had a girl from Palmerton who really wanted a puppy, and she got a chocolate Labrador retriever," Thompson said. "It has really been a nice companion for her."
Several dream recipients will be on hand at the telethon to talk about their experience.
George Roberts, Kristal Nemeroff, Dr. Ed Miller and Nick Hawkey will host the telethon.
Roberts is also part of an entertainment lineup that includes "Piano Man" Tommy Zito, Blue Mountain Community Church, Dance With Kim, Pat and Shane McGeehan, Jupiters Arrow, Erin Kelley and Lynn DeHaven, Jillian Rossi, Elizabethtown College Vocalign, Grace Choi, Jimmy Reichard, Ivory Blue, Kristal Nemeroff, Tony Corona and Daimon Price.
Telethon sponsors include Ackley-Sweeney Advertising, Country Inn and Suites, First Northern Bank and Trust, George LaRose Insurance Ltd., Foster Jewelers, Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank, PenTeleData, and R.F. Ohl Fuel Oil Inc.
The telethon is open to the public and free to attend.
Eight recipients saw their dream come true in 2015, while five other dreams are in the process of completion. Thompson said four new referrals are in various stages of approval.
"We've had 64 dreams completed since our chapter started in 2004," she said.
People or groups can help make a dream come true in various ways including making a donation, referring a child, volunteering or holding a fundraiser event for the benefit of the chapter.
Telethon viewers are encouraged to help make a dream come true by calling in a pledge during the telethon to 610-826-9600, or call the toll-free number, 800-585-1240.
Referrals, donations and volunteer sign-ups can all be done at the chapter's website, dreamcometrue-brc.org.
Donations can also be mailed to Dream Come True, Blue Ridge Chapter, P.O. Box 344, Palmerton, PA, 18071.
Qualifying children can come from families of all income levels from Carbon, upper Lehigh, lower Monroe and parts of Schuylkill counties. The children must be between 4 years old and their 18th birthday.
When a child is referred for a dream, a letter is sent to the child's family, who must give permission for the fulfillment. The child's physicians then confirm the child's condition and two Dream Come True volunteers then visit the child to talk about their dream. The 15-member, all-volunteer, Blue Ridge Chapter board of directors then names a team to begin the process of fulfilling the dream. The entire process can take anywhere from three months to two years to be completed, depending on the child's request and medical issues.
When a child has a dream, they are invited each year to special events.
"This year we had a holiday party in January, and in July we had a movie night at Becky's Drive-In," Thompson said.
Dream recipients are also eligible for a scholarship, $1,000 per semester with a max of $8,000, to further their education. Eight children are currently participating in the program, and two have already completed school.