Guest Editorial: Not Your Typical Fairy Godparent

By Scottsdale Pinetop

At one moment or another, we’ve all wished for our own fairy godparent to grant our deepest wishes. Made popular by Disney’s Cinderella, a fairy godmother is the physical embodiment of hope and is devoted to making dreams come true.

And while they may not fit the traditional depiction of a “fairy godmother”, one non-profit organization known as the DreamCatchers Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling end-of-life dreams to those within their communities. And for adult hospice patients whose final wishes are being granted, that can mean everything.

The DreamCatchers Foundation is a network of high school and/or college student organizations that work closely with local hospices within their communities to fulfill the dreams of their patients with either a memorable experience or event. For example, a “Dream” may be a sailboat ride of someone who loves the ocean, a trip to a ballgame of their favorite team or something as simple as a birthday party.

This was the case for one Arizona resident, Stella Sgro, who recently turned 100 years old on Wednesday, April 21st. Not only is that an accomplishment in itself, but Stella is also a World War II veteran who served as a drill sergeant, air raid warden and factory worker in the U.S. Army in a time when women were discouraged from serving in the military. She’s a first-generation American from an Italian family and at the age of twelve, she was struck by lightning and survived. Now, this is someone who deserves to be celebrated!

And thanks to the students from Grand Canyon University chapter, a special drive-by parade was held to honor her accomplishments and celebrate her 100th birthday. Because of their efforts, an entire Valley community came together to honor Stella Sgro at Christian Care Health Center.

“She’s never really been acknowledged or celebrate for her service because she was a woman in the war, and it was so much less likely to be a thing, so this was kind of the first time she was actually honored for her service,” said Caitlin Crommett, founder of Dreamcatcher Foundation, in an interview with Channel 3TV.

Even with the overwhelming challenges and restrictions brought on by the coronavirus, the DreamCatchers Foundation has been determined now more than ever to fulfill these last-day wishes to a community that has been impacted the most – our elderly. Arizona currently has DreamCatcher chapters at Arcadia High School, ASU, Barry Goldwater High School, Pinnacle High School and several others.

These “Dream” experiences offer unique opportunities for young adults to interact with elderly patients, something rarely experience in today’s society, in hopes to destigmatize the fear and apprehensiveness surrounding hospice care. And along the way proving that sometimes dreams do come true, regardless of age.