HealthEngine Chairman Pat O’Sullivan On Why He Fundraises for Dreams2Live4

HealthEngine Chairman Pat O'Sullivan

We caught up this week with HealthEngine’s new Chairman Pat O’Sullivan to discuss the Charity he fundraises for, Dreams2Live4.

Dreams2Live4 is a not for profit that encourages patients of The Prince of Wales Hospital who are living with metastatic cancer to realise their dreams. The charity came to national prominence in 2007 through Andrew Denton’s Documentary  “Can I Write the Ending” and featured the life of Dreams2Live4 founder Annie Robinson.

Challenged by the sudden death of his young adult nephew from cancer in 2011, Pat O’Sullivan was looking for a charity to support and one that he felt he would be able to make a difference to.

He said, “Sure I could join a board of a charity, but I do that in my professional life. I wanted to find a charity that allowed me to put something more of myself into, to stretch myself, to share my connections in a positive way and frankly just to be a better human being. So I fundraise for them, organise events that type of thing.

“It’s not always about the commercial reality, sometimes we just have to treat each other as people and understand people have families, have challenges, have fears and of course, have dreams too even as life nears end.

There is a widespread and overwhelming expectation from the community at large that a person with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) has no hope of living and that death is imminent. This expectation can be demoralising and depressing to the person living with cancer.

Dreams2Life4 was established to assist people with the disease to overcome negative thought processes and emotions by providing a forum for them to identify goals, dreams and aspirations to live for, and helping them to achieve those in every way possible. At the same time, Dream2live4 seeks to create awareness in the community that it is possible to live a full life while living with metastatic cancer. (There are very few support systems for people with metastatic cancer (as opposed to those who have experienced a single cancer episode) and we seek to provide one such system.”

What Type of Dreams Are Realised at Dreams2Live4

The kind of dreams that Dreams2Live4 work hard to realise include:

My dream is to be…. (For example: My dream is to be a back up singer at a concert with a large crowd; my dream is to be a chef for a day and cook beside Jamie Oliver etc.)

My dream is to meet….. (For example: I wish to meet Kylie Minogue/George Gregan etc.)

The charity grants around 100 dreams a year so far and as Pat says, remarkably they are mostly simple dreams often focused on providing a memory for a loved one such as a holiday although recently I recall one sweet woman who had days to live and her concern was thinking of practicalities – her kids needed a washing machine.”

How does it work?

People who are living with metastatic cancer (advanced cancer) are referred to the charity by their oncologists at the Prince of Wales Hospital. Alternatively people can apply to have their dream fulfilled by filling out an application form, these can be found at the hospital.

If you would like to donate to Dreams2Live4 or perhaps fundraise for the organisation visit their website for further details.