Happy Birthday Dream On 3!

Elizabeth Lindsey and daughter, Victoria, on the way to Nicholas' Dream Experience.  Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

Elizabeth Lindsey and daughter, Victoria, on the way to Nicholas’ Dream Experience.
Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

A year ago this month, Dream On 3 was created by Brandon & Elizabeth Lindsey and Martha & Danny Borrell. Through the incredible support of friends, families, and even strangers, we have met all of our one year goals and beyond! We are so grateful for all of the help we have received along the way.

In this post, co-founder Elizabeth Lindsey reflects back over Dream On 3’s first year. Enjoy!

1. Looking back over the last year what were your favorite or most rewarding moments?

“Telling our 2 Dream Kids – Nicholas & Zasheed (& both families) that we were going to fullfill their Sports Dream!”

Dream Kid Zebulon and his mom at our CrossFit fundraiser.

Dream Kid Zebulon and his mom at our CrossFit fundraiser.

 2. What surprised you most along the way? 
“How our community has supported Dream On 3 & this mission.  Everyone that we share our story with wants to help in some shape or fashion.”
The CrossFit Charlotte community came together to raise money for our NYY Dream Experience!

The CrossFit Charlotte community came together to raise money for our NYY Dream Experience!

3. What is your favorite part of a Dream Experience?
“The send off!  Seeing the overwhelming excitement & joy it brings to a child and their family.”
Dream Kid Nicholas calls Elizabeth to tell her they need a bigger vehicle!

Dream Kid Nicholas calls Elizabeth to tell her they need a bigger vehicle!
Photo Cred- Themba Imagery

Describe a moment that:
1. You were touched by a Dream Kid or family:
“BJ meeting Doug Floutie at the Touchdown Club – seeing his confidence & genuine excitement shine through.  Despite his physical battle he was joyful.”
Dream Kid BJ meets Doug Flutie

Dream Kid BJ meets Doug Flutie

2. Everything came together perfectly:
“What we call “Dream Mojo” – the McNeal family being upgraded to FIRST CLASS to New York City!”
Dream Kid Zasheed and his mom on the way to NYC -Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

Dream Kid Zasheed and his mom on the way to NYC
-Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

3. You got that “teary-eyed/goosebumps/Ty Pennington just ‘moved that bus'” feeling:
“Every time I watch Zasheed say “Thank You” in the McNeal video with the upmost sincerity while receiving NY Yankees gear on their Dream Experience at the MLB Fan Cave.  You can tell the experience made a difference for him.”
Dream Kid Zasheed shows off his new NYY hat

Dream Kid Zasheed shows off his new NYY hat!
Photo Cred- Themba Imagery

 4. What are you most excited about for the future?
“To grow our Dream Team (volunteers, partners, donors) & serve more Dream Kids = the ability to make a difference.
-Elizabeth Lindsey, Co-founder of DO3
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CrossFit Joins The Huddle

It takes a lot of hands to help make Dreams come true for our Dream Kids. Our most recent Dream Experience was made possible through the hard work of Charlotte’s CrossFit community in September. They came together to help make dreams come true for Zasheed and Zebulon, 2 local brothers battling serious health conditions.

Video by Jason Longoria 

Local athletes endured a grueling work out consisting of burpees, wallballs, box jumps, fireman’s carry, pushups, and a little running. All proceeds from the event were used to send the McNeal brothers to NY where they had their sports dreams come true at Yankee Stadium.

Special thanks to Mike and Laura Dascal!!

Learn more about what it takes to make Dreams come true here.

One Year Later

A year ago this month, we decided to start Dream On 3.  We had no idea what we were doing and knew nothing about running a charitable organization.  Through the loving support of our family and friends and by seeking out the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, we are proud to say that we have survived year 1!
Here are some of the things I learned about running a non-profit.
Lessons Learned in Year 1:

10) When you’re not paying someone, you can’t simply go after their hands and backs…you have to get their hearts!

9) Don’t measure success by immediate reactions or outward signs of gratitude….you may not always get it.
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

8) Everybody knows somebody! We are so thankful that we know people that know people.
7) Forget your pride and everything you were ever taught about talking to people about money.  If you don’t ask….you don’t get!
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

6) Non-profits are competing for the same dollars as for-profit businesses, but are expected to play by a different set of rules.
5) People are good!  Given the chance to lend a helping hand or make a difference in their community…99.9% of people would say they will help.
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Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

4) 2-3% of those people will actually take the time or steps required to get involved.  This is especially true of us southerners (myself included).  We really do mean well…bless our hearts!
View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

3) Believe it or not….sometimes the story relayed by the media is not exactly the story you were trying to tell.
2) No one understands hope and faith better than a child.
1) God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.
-Brandon Lindsay, Founder of Dream On 3 
BJ with gift2
Thank you to all of our friends and family who have helped us along the way, we couldn’t do it without you!
Learn more about Dream On 3 at www.dreamon3.org. Visit our “Ways to Help” page to see ways you can help us make more dreams come true!

Meet Donald

Hey Dreamers!

Check out our NYY Dream Experience video! We would like to thank Donald Wilson, CEO of Blach Collar Entertainment, for graciously agreeing to document another Dream Experience for us.

Donald first brought his talents and time to us for our 1st Dream Experience with Nicholas earlier this year. Thanks to Donald, we can share moments from Dream Experiences with you. The videos are also a treasure that our Dream Kids can reminisce on and share with their family and friends.

Videographer Donald Wilson on our NYY Dream Experience Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

Videographer Donald Wilson on our NYY Dream Experience
Photo Cred: Themba Imagery

Blach Collar Ent. is a full service production company that provides videography and photography for a wide range of events. If you or someone you know is looking for a talented videographer visit http://www.bce4.com/#!about-us/cisx.

Thank you Donald!

Videographer Donald Wilson with DO3 Founder Brandon Lindsey.
Photo Cred: http://www.thembaimagery.com

Football Manager With Down Syndrome Plays In Game, Scores Big

Awesome story! Way to go Josiah!

CBS New York

[worldnow id=9443555 width=420 height=266 type=video]

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A high school football team manager with Down syndrome went from the sideline to the spotlight.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, Yorktown High School’s Josiah O’Brien realized his big dream of playing under the Friday night lights when the Huskers’ coach inserted him into their game last week.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen,” O’Brien said.

Coach Mike Rescigno put O’Brien, an 18-year-old senior, in at running back on the final snap of Yorktown’s game against Pougkeepsie. O’Brien then raced into the end zone on a 20-yard run. The Huskers won the game 48-27.

“It was our Senior Night, where kids and parents get recognized, so I thought what better way to send him off?” Rescigno said.

Even Poughkeepsie’s players were in on it and loved the moment along with the fans. Players and fans were chanting “Josiah!…

View original post 110 more words

Here Comes the Sun

A blog post taken from the blog of our amazing photographer and friend, Sunny Hutchinson!

View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

My dear friends and founders of Dream on 3, Brandon and Elizabeth Lindsey, continue to amaze me everyday with their passion for helping other people. The organization they founded alongside family members Martha and Danny Borrell, aims to make awesome dreams come true for children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities or life-altering conditions through the world of sports. As you may recall I had the honor of capturing their last dream experience for Nicholas when he got a VIP visit to the Coca Cola Speedway earlier this year. Nicholas was the organizations first dream recipient and after the amazing day the Dream on 3 team put together I knew more amazing things would be in store for the organization. Little did I know, Brandon and the Dream on 3 team were already planning the next big adventure for another amazing family.

View More: http://thembaimagery.pass.us/dreamon3

Zasheed and Zebulon, two brothers of the five McNeal family siblings, are big NY Yankees fans. Zasheed, the eldest of the two, lives with a condition known as Sickle Cell Anemia and Zebulon with Cerebral Palsy. Both boys have smiles that truly light up a room and have big dreams to inspire others every day. Before the sun even rose on Tuesday September 24th the Dream on 3 team surprised Zasheed, Zebulon, their brothers, mother and grandmother with a limo ride to the airport for a once in a lifetime trip to New York City to visit the NY Yankees!….” 

-Sunny Hutchinson, Themba Imagery 

You can see the rest of Sunny’s post and photos at:

http://www.thembaimageryblog.com/humanitarian/charlotte-nc-charities-dream-on-3-takes-mcneal-family-to-nyc/

Learn more about our recent Dream Experience at www.dreamon3.org

We are so thankful to have made a friend in Sunny. Her name holds true in that she brings light wherever she goes. Not only has she shared her incredible talent with us, she has done it at no charge!

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*If you or someone you know are looking for a photographer in the Charlotte area, visit:

http://www.thembaimagery.com

“The Greatest Day of my Life!”

A note from Wendy Batley, mother of our 1st Dream Kid-

May 26, 2013 –

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“The greatest day of my life!”

That is how Nicholas described the day.  Even today, he stills talks about it.  That is the day that Dream on 3 made a dream come true! What an amazing group of people involved with Dream On 3.  From the moment we met them, we all felt like VIPs, and on May 26th, they made sure we were treated as such.  To fully understand what this day meant to Nicholas, you must first know what a huge fan Nicholas is of NASCAR.  One of the gifts of being born with Asperger’s is that the brain has an amazing ability to stay focused on one subject and remember so many specific details.  Nicholas can name every driver, car number, sponsor, crew chief, and just about every winner of each of the races.  His dream is to become a commentator for NASCAR, and meet his idol, Darrell Waltrip, a retired driver and current announcer for NASCAR on FOX.

Nicholas was so excited about going to the Coca Cola 600 that day, but had no idea of all the surprises that Dream On 3 had in store for us, with an emphasis on the US, because, while this was Nicholas’ dream, the entire family was included, especially Nicholas’ older sister, Morgan.  That was so amazing because many times, so much emphasis is put on the child with Special Needs that the sibling feels a little left out.  On this day, no one was left out, everyone felt special, and for that, we will always be grateful.

So, about the day…first, a huge limo filled with friends, signs, gifts, and more showed up at our home!  Then the police escorted us all the way to the track.  When we arrived at the speedway, we got our special passes so that we could access all areas.  While walking the infield, Nicholas waved to The King, Richard Petty, and shook hands with Mike Helton, President of NASCAR.  These were two people whom Nicholas recognized right away and felt honored to have seen.  After that, we headed to the motor homes of the drivers, teams, and announcers.  As soon as Nicholas saw the sign that said “Darrell Waltrip”, the smile that had been on his face since the limo pulled up, got even bigger!  We knocked on the door, and out came Nicholas’ idol!  That moment was awesome!  The two of them acted like old friends, with hugs, high fives, and smiles all around.  There were even some tears of joy from those of us honored enough to witness that moment!  One of Nicholas’ favorite parts was getting to say, “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys and Danica!” with Darrell Waltrip.  Pictures, autographs, and more gifts followed.  We could have stayed there all afternoon, but the Dream On 3 team had more surprises planned!

The rest of the prerace surprises included an invitation to the Driver’s Meeting, where Nicholas got to meet some more people, including the guys from Duck Dynasty and our Governor, Pat McCrory.  We then went to Driver Introductions.  Nicholas had a front row spot to give each of the drivers a high five as they exited the stage.  Here, he got to see his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, another dream come true!  After that, we were taken up to the Suites to enjoy the race with food, drinks and headphones for Nicholas so that he could listen in on the teams’ radios as they communicated back and forth during the race.  What a great way to watch the race.  Our limo was waiting for us at the conclusion to return us home.  Everyone fell asleep on the ride home, our dreams filled with amazing memories of the wonderful day!

Words just cannot express how much this day meant to us.  As parents, you love to see your kids happy, having fun, and making lasting memories.  Dream On 3 made that possible that day in May.  So many days are filled with struggles, frustrations, and worries about what will happen in the future, but on that day, there was nothing but happy thoughts, enjoyment, and smiles.  We were so honored to be part of Dream On 3’s first experience, and Nicholas loved being the “pioneer,” as he so appropriately named himself.  Many charities focus on making one time wishes come true, but Dream On 3 focuses on fulfilling dreams and helping kids to continue to follow those dreams.  In the future, when we hear and see Nicholas on ESPN, Fox Sports, or ABC Sports, we will look back to this moment and be grateful for all that was put into this day to make Nicholas’ dream come true and further his dedication to follow his dream!

Thank you to Dream On 3, Darrell Waltrip, Coca Cola, NASCAR, Sprint, Speedway Children’s Charities, and everyone else involved in making this day “the greatest day of (Nicholas’) life!”

-Wendy Batley, Nicholas’ mother

Meet Dream Kid BJ!

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With the help of the Charlotte Touchdown Club, Dream Kid BJ Correll was able to receive signed memorabilia and meet Doug Flutie earlier this year!

“BJ was extremely excited to attend the Charlotte Touchdown Club luncheon and meet football legend, Doug Flutie. DreamOn3’s Brandon and Elizabeth were very kind and were completely interested in making that afternoon extra-special for BJ. As Brandon learned more about BJ, he realized BJ was also an avid Carolina Tarheels fan. At the end of the afternoon, he presented BJ with a framed Tarheels print which he will treasure for years to come. The day’s experience brought the biggest eye-sparkling smile to my son’s face. The afternoon couldn’t have gone better, and it was a wonderful, unforgettable experience that lifted BJ’s spirits during a particularly rough treatment phase. Hats off to the DreamOn3 organization, and their focus on making dreams come true for children in our area with life-changing conditions.”

                                          -Michelle Correll, BJ’s mother

In the fall of 2012, 12 year old BJ Correll was playing football for Boger City Optimist Club in Denver, NC. His mother noticed that after practice and athletic conditioning training, BJ seemed to struggle much harder to recover than most of the other kids. His mother talked to coaches and teachers to find out what they were seeing and what may be going on. In September of 2012, BJ’s mother decided that it was time to visit the hospital. After several tests and blood work, the doctor informed Michelle and BJ that he was battling leukemia.

BJ began a series of treatments at Levine Children’s Hospital. His best friend has been by his side through this process and hangs out with BJ on days when the treatments take their toll on him. BJ does not view himself as a victim, but instead has chosen to fight this disease with a positive attitude and all of his strength.

“God saves His toughest battles for His strongest solders.”

BJ is now doing much better! His is back to playing football and has his hair back. Go BJ! 

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http://www.dreamon3.org

Signs and Smiles

“We’re so grateful for our new partnership. You guys are bringing something so great to the table- something we didn’t even know we needed until it arrived! It’s amazing, and I’m pumped for other families to get connected with you.”

-Katy F. Wind, Child Life Specialist at Novant Health

Katy Wind, along with Angela Miller and Elizabeth Gray, works at Novant Health here in Charlotte. They are part of an amazing team that connected us with our most recent Dream Kids, Zasheed and Zebulon McNeal. Their team has worked with the McNeal family for many years.

Katy, Angela and Elizabeth woke up well before the sun last Tuesday to help send the McNeal brothers off on their Dream Experience. In the moments leading up to the surprise, they spoke of the McNeal family and how deserving they are of a Dream Experience like this one. They reminisced on the years they’ve spent with the family and were so excited for them.

The three also came bearing signs and smiles to welcome the McNeal family home Wednesday afternoon. The selflessness and compassion they put into their work everyday is awesome and we thank them for it! Without people like them, DO3 Dream Experiences would not be possible.

We cannot thank the Novant Health team enough for everything they did to make this Dream Experience happen!

-Shannon Griffin, DO3 Social Media Manager

McNeal Brothers Homecoming- News14

Dream Mojo

Dream Mojo

I love my job. But on Dream Days in particular, I truly feel like I have the best job in the world! Ever since I watched my first episode of Extreme Home Makeover, my dream job has been to be Ty Pennington and get to say “welcome home ___ family, welcome home.” On Dream Days, I get to be Ty! Dream Day is the culmination of months of preparation, planning, and unfortunately a little bit of stress. The goal is to gift our Dreams Kids and their families with an unforgettable experience, without them having to worry about a thing. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. However, the one thing that we can count on every time is something that we at Dream On 3 refer to as…Dream Mojo.

Dream Mojo is just our fun way of referring to God’s blessings on Dream Day. It can show up in the form of an unexpected interaction with a celebrity, an unplanned upgrade at the airport or hotel, or a priceless reaction from one of our Dream Kids caught on camera. For me, this is the most exciting thing about Dream Day. We get to see how He is going to apply His signature on His artwork.

We’re on the plane heading home from New York, exhausted from the whirlwind tour the day before. My body says “SLEEP” but I don’t want to risk forgetting yesterday’s Mojo. It started at 5:30am. I can still see Zebulon and Zasheed’s reactions when their child life specialists exploded out of a stretch limo carrying behind them a red carpet! DO3 can schedule it, but we can’t manufacture a moment like that!

The most unbelievable Mojo moment was when I stepped up to the ticket counter to print our boarding passes only to learn that our entire group was sitting together….in first class! “WHAT!” As much as I would love to say that we had something to do with that, we didn’t.

Imagine if your first time in an airplane was in first class! I’m stretched out in an oversized seat answering questions like…“what’s going on with my ears? What do you mean they’re going to pop? Are those clouds or a blanket of cotton? Is all of this food free?” I just smiled and knew that He had done it again.

The entire day was full of little moments like these. When we pulled up to the MLB Fan Cave, Tonique told me that we had left Zebulon’s diapers at the hotel. As we were debating fighting NY city traffic and heading back, we looked across the street and saw a Pharmacy that just happened to carry his size diapers. Everywhere we went the boys were showered with gifts and autographed memoribilia! It was like Christmas morning. We experienced this all day long, but funniest story came at dinner time.

Prior to the trip, Elizabeth had called and asked “what kind of food do the boys like to eat?” You can imagine our surprise to learn that their favorite foods were “steak, lobster tails, and shrimp.” Secretly, our budget more closely resembled a menu of hot dogs, pizza, and Lucky Charms. Elizabeth replied, “well, we’ll see what we can do.” I remember replying to her in the most respectful manner, “ARE YOU CRAZY? That was not the right response!” So what happened? After our time on the field, the entire McNeal family was invited to dine in The Legends Club at Yankee Stadium. They were told that in the Legends Club it is “all you can eat and drink.” And on the menu for the evening….you guessed it! “Please help yourself to all the steak, lobster tail, and shrimp you can eat” said the representative from the Yankees. Now how’s that for some serious MOJO!

Over the last 36 hours, the McNeal family has thanked us no less than a billion times.

It warms our hearts to know that this gift was received as it was intended and will be a day that they will never forget. However, as is always the case…the true blessings fell on those of us that got to play a small role in making these dreams come true!

Dream Kid Zasheed takes in his Dream

Dream Kid Zasheed takes in his Dream

Welcome home McNeal family, welcome home.

– Brandon Lindsey, Founder of Dream On 3