Louise Mahoney Dreams2live4Interview

Louise Mahoney Dreams2live4Interview

Louise Mahoney Dreams2live4 Interview

Sydney based Dreams2live4, a not-for-profit organisation that brings the dreams of patients living with metastatic cancer to life, is looking for a very special and unique person to fill some big shoes – a Dream Maker.

The charity began the search for their next Dream Maker after being awarded a $30,000 Jetstar Flying Start grant which includes $15,000 in cash and $15,000 worth of Jetstar travel.

A Dream Maker at Dreams2live4 is a unique person dedicated to helping patients identify and fulfil their dreams.

Along with searching for and training their next Dream Maker, the cash component of the grant will go towards fulfilling the dreams of cancer sufferers while the flights will be used to fly patients across the Jetstar network to experience their dreams. The flights will also assist the charity to take their work to more locations around the country by flying Dreams2live4 team members to hospitals to meet with new Dreamers.

Dreams2live4 Chief Executive Officer, Louise Mahoney runs the charity which was initially set up by her sister, Annie Robinson in 2008.

'This year alone, we estimate we will work with more than 300 patients facing this life threatening disease. Thanks to the Jetstar Flying Start grant, we will now be able to reach more patients and their families, giving them something to strive, hope and live for. Many of our dreams involve travel including family holidays, reunions and the chance to spend precious time with those they love far from hospitals wards and waiting rooms. We're so excited to now be able to offer more flights as part of our services," said Louise.

'Many of our dreams involve travel so we're excited to now be able to offer more flights as part of our services."

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Dean Salter was part of the judging panel which awarded the grant and was impressed with the vision of the organisation.

'Every day Jetstar flies thousands of people, helping unite family and friends and creating special travel experiences and we're very happy to be able to share this with the Dreams2live4 team," Mr Salter said.

'We're proud to help Dreams2live4 grow their services and help touch the lives of so many Australian families."

Applications for the next Jetstar Flying Start grant are now open to not-for-profit community groups in SA & WA. Organisations can apply between 1st October - 31st December. Full details are available at http://www.jetstar.com/au/en/flyingstart

To donate or to find out more about Dreams2Live4 visit http://dreams2live4.org.au/

Dreams2live4 is a visionary program that helps identify and implement the dreams of patients living with metastatic cancer - any cancer that has spread, including aggressive brain cancer, relapsed lymphoma and relapsed leukemia.

Dreams2live4 was founded by metastatic cancer sufferer, Annie Robinson, in 2008, as a charitable program of The Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation. Annie's personal experience gave her a unique insight into the importance of treating the soul as well as the disease.

This year, Dreams2live4 became a nationally registered charity and is now run by Annie's sister Louise Mahoney in Roseville, NSW.

This year their small and dedicated team will work with more than 300 patients facing this life threatening disease. Currently, there is a team of 10 committee members working for the organisation.

To donate or to find out more about Dreams2live4 visit http://dreams2live4.org.au/

Jetstar's Flying Start Grants

Each quarterly grant is worth $30,000, comprising:
$15,000 cash;
$15,000 worth of travel with Jetstar anywhere on the Jetstar network; and
Promotion of the community group or organisation on Jetstar's website and Facebook page.

Who can apply?

Entry is open to Australian based not-for-profit community groups and organisations of any size, who are seeking funding to help enhance the lives of people in their local community and can be classified into one of the following categories:

Educational organisation
Health organisation
Sporting group or organisation or
Arts group or organisation

The community group or organisation should have a specific project in mind for how the grant will be used to benefit their local community.

How grants are awarded

Entries are reviewed by a judging panel that includes:

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO, Dean Salter
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand Chief Pilot, Captain Georgina Sutton
Jetstar Group Head of Customer Strategy, Cath Stone
Austereo's Fox FM radio host, Jules Lund
Television host, Gorgi Coghlan

Interview with Louise Mahoney

Question: How would you describe your role as a Dream Maker?

Louise Mahoney: My role as Dream Maker is to work with our dreamers to develop and realise their dream. Sometimes it's a matter of empowering them to have the confidence to ask for something.

Time and time again I have seen an incredible difference in the mindset of patients and families when they have a dream fulfilled. It constantly amazes me.

Staff members refer patients to me. That can be anyone - nurses, social worker or doctors. They could also be self-referred or by family and friends.

I take details from the patient, sometimes patients know immediately what their dream is, but normally they talk about it with family and friends which is a large part of the joy of the dream because it takes their mind away from the day to day of their illness and gives them something else to talk about.

Once the decision is made the dream team gets to work, not only making the dream come true but also enhancing it in anyway we can.

Question: Can you tell us about Dreams2live4?

Louise Mahoney: Dream2Live4 makes dreams come true for adult patients who have metastatic cancer, relapsed lymphoma and leukaemia and brain cancer.

Everyone who works with Dream2Live4 has a story of when they became hooked on the dreams concept, mine was when I was with my sister Annie in the oncology day centre at Prince of Wales Hospital, sitting with her while she was having treatment following a metastatic cancer diagnosis. I thought at the time, why am I here? She was spending her time walking around talking to all the other patients. She finally came back and sat down with me and said, 'Now Louise, they will go home and think about their dreams, not their results appointment and scans."

Annie saw a need with these patients to assist in making their dream come true, so with Professor Michael Friedlander and a group of her friends, Annie came up with the concept of Dreams2Live4, which became a program at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Sadly Annie passed away in 2009 but not before ensuring that the charity she worked so hard to establish continued to grow. She asked me to continue her work.

We worked until September 2015 as a program at the Prince of Wales Hospital, working with 100 new referrals a year. I am thrilled to say that, as of Sept 1st 2015, Dreams2Live4 has become a national Charity and we are now able to make dreams come true Australia wide for adult patients who fit our criteria.

Question: What inspired the creation of Dreams2live4?

Louise Mahoney: From being a family member of a cancer patient and particularly later on in Annie's illness, I saw firsthand what a difference a dream makes to a patient and their family. The excitement and joy she and we got out of seeing her achieve her dream is a memory that brings all of my family and friends great joy still and inspires me every day in my work at Dreams2Live4.

Annie's dream was not for the faint hearted. She dreamt of performing as a backup singer for a band in front of thousands of people. She achieved this at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre singing with Human Nature in front of a large crowd, family and friends.

We work with patients from around the age of 17 years up. There is no one dream – they come in all shapes and forms.

Question: How has the Jetstar Flying Start program supported Dreams2live4, recently?

Louise Mahoney: The Jetstar Flying Start grant – which is $30,000, comprising of $15,000 cash and $15,000 worth of travel with Jetstar – will make a huge difference in helping Dreams2Live4 work with more patients than ever before.

With the cash component we are able to employ a second Dream Maker, to support me in my work and the $15,000 of flights will be used to fly patients around Australia to fulfill their dreams.

Question: Are you able to share with us a dream a patient recently had granted?

Louise Mahoney: We are constantly helping patients to identify and fulfill their dreams, and work with anyone around the age of 17 years up. There is no one dream – they come in all shapes and forms.

An 18-year-old young man will dream to meet his sporting heroes, or a V8 super car race driver or the Australian Cricket team. He will want to go out on the pitch, talk to the team, do the pitch analysis with the Chanel 9 commentary team and sit in a private box with five of his friends.

A young, 20-year-old women will want to just be like other 20 year-olds and do normal things, like go on a girls' weekend, do some shopping and see a Justin Timberlake concert.

30-year-old mums and dads will want to make memories with their children. Happy memories that don't include hospitals wards and treatment rooms. While some others will want to do adventurous things, such as deep sea fishing, hot air ballooning, V8 supercar hot laps, or camel riding in Broome.

I once had a 50-year-old women who said to me, 'I want a man for a day", so I asked 'What would that involve?" and she said, 'I want to sit on my back veranda and say - move that pot, dig that hole, move that rubbish," and the list went on!

I have recently had a 70-year-old man who lived most of his life in central QLD and NT and always dreamt of owning an RM Williams outfit; jeans, boots, shoes, belt, the whole deal. He said, 'I always look the other way when I go past the shop." So he was thrilled to be able walk into an RM Williams store and choose want he wanted.

Question: How can Australians support Dreams2live4?

Louise Mahoney: You can visit our website (www.dreams2live4.org.au) to make a donation, contact us about volunteering or organise a fundraising event.

Question: Can you tell us about the search for the next Dream Maker, to work alongside you?

Louise Mahoney: Thanks to the Jetstar Flying Start grant, we're very excited to be able to now employ a second Dream Maker. We are looking for someone with a palliative care background, who can understand the disease process and the ongoing commitments and restrictions of a patient with cancer. We need someone that understands the medical system and has good communication skills to liaise with medical staff, patient and families. It's also really important that this person is empathetic yet confident to ask for and receive assistance to fulfill a dream.

Interview by Brooke Hunter