Camoflauge With Some Sparkle and a Tutu

Check out this post from Danielle Froning, a new member of our Dream Gala planning committee!

Photo by Themba Imagery

Photo by Themba Imagery

“What do I wear?” was the first question I asked when I was told we were attending a ‘Gala’. Never having been to a gala before, I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know at the time how little my outfit would matter in the grand scheme of things. I had never heard of the Dream On 3 organization before, so I took to google and spent time looking through their website and was instantly intrigued. Sick children naturally hold a soft spot for me, and being an avid sports fan myself, the idea of sports themed dreams for these special people was brilliant.

The Inaugural Dream On 3 Gala was held at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Charlotte. We checked in and immediately hit the red carpet for some photo ops before walking through the overwhelming display of Silent Auction items. It was inspiring to see how many valuable items had been donated and spoke to the confidence people had in the organization. Items ranging from a signed Steve Smith picture (which we happen to be the proud owners of!) to an Auburn Football signed by Cam Newton (War Eagle!) to a signed Derek Jeter Baseball. The silent auction was such a hit that they had to ask everyone to venture to the ballroom for dinner a second time so dinner could be served.

Inaugural Dream Gala Silent Auction Photo by Themba Imagery

Inaugural Dream Gala Silent Auction                                               Photo by Themba Imagery

Throughout the cocktail hour I noticed several younger attendees whom I assumed were just out for an evening with the family. Before heading to the ballroom for dinner, I popped in the restroom where I met Dream Kid Angel Thompson. She was gleaming ear-to-ear with excitement of being at such an event. While waiting on my friend to finish up, Angel told me she loved my dress. Her reassurance on my dress was enough for me! Being a hunting enthusiast, Angel’s dress was camouflage print with some sparkle and a tutu – so, I obviously assured her I loved hers as well.

Dream Kid Angel at our Inaugural Dream Gala Photo by Themba Imagery

Dream Kid Angel at our Inaugural Dream Gala
Photo by Themba Imagery

Dream Kids at our Dream Gala. Photos by Themba Imagery

Dream Kids at our Dream Gala. Photos by Themba Imagery

During dinner we were introduced to the Dream Kids with videos of their story. After each video the Dream Kid and their family took the stage to show their immense appreciation for everything Dream On 3 has and is doing. And each of one of the Kids was presented with a gift that somehow fit ‘their dream’.

Dream Kid Nicholas Batley Takes the Stage! Photo by: Themba Imagery

Dream Kid Nicholas Batley Takes the Stage! Photo by: Themba Imagery

Dream Kids at our Inaugural Dream Gala. Photos by Themba Imagery

Dream Kids at our Inaugural Dream Gala. Photos by Themba Imagery

And then there was the final Dream Kid, Nicholas Thornton. The minute Nicholas’ video started, I was in tears because I knew this was one Dream Kid we weren’t going to meet that night. Nicholas passed away a month shy of living out his Dream Experience and that truly broke my heart. I was thankful for the amazing wait staff that had plenty of tissues on hand.

Olympian Lauren Perdue & DO3 co-founder Elizabeth announce the Nicholas Thornton Scholarship Fund

Olympian Lauren Perdue & DO3 co-founder Elizabeth announce the Nicholas Thornton Scholarship Fund. Photo by Themba Imagery

It was then and there, at dinner in the ballroom of the Dream Gala, that I decided I wanted to help in any way I could. I immediately reached out to Elizabeth Lindsey and offered my time to any of their numerous projects. The first task she assigned me too was helping plan the 2015 Dream Gala and I hope to help make it even bigger and better!

So, if you were there at the inaugural Dream Gala, we look forward to seeing you again, and if you missed it, I hope I’ve helped you realize what a magical night it is and look forward to seeing you in January!

-Danielle

SAVE THE DATE!

Our 2nd Annual Dream Gala will be January 24th at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

We can’t wait to see you there!

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You’re Invited! Join us at our Dream Gala

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Dream On 3 Dream Gala Information

Hope

A Christmas note from our Founder, Brandon Lindsey. 

Co-Founders Brandon & Elizabeth Lindsey with their daughters

Co-Founders Brandon & Elizabeth Lindsey with their daughters

HOPE

What does Christmas mean to you? 

I was that kid (and probably still am at heart) that loved Christmas only because I was in a good position to get tons of stuff that I didn’t deserve yet wanted badly.  The enjoyment and excitement that I experienced from receiving gifts was rivaled only by my devious obsession with finding out what those gifts were before Christmas morning.  My mom loves Christmas!  Unlike her mischievous red headed son, Mom’s love for the season came from being able to give her kids everything that we wanted for Christmas.  Seeing our faces light up as we tore away the paper disguising our every wish gave her the greatest pleasure.  So you can imagine how well it went over when I started pointing to the wrapped presents under the tree and naming them off one by one.  “That’s a skateboard.  That one is a soccer ball.  Kyle, you can have that one over there ….it’s a sweater.”  It became painfully clear that I had found my way into the attic and stumbled upon Santa’s secret stash.  Mom’s holiday joy turned very quickly into a fiery fit of Christmas fury.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was the Christmas that Mom had wrapped that year’s “BIG present” in the most beautiful and elegant white wrapping paper.  As beautiful as it was, she definitely overlooked one fatal flaw.  If you held the box up to the light, at just the right angle you could read the outside of the box as clear as day…”GAMEBOY!”  Funny to me, not so funny to her!

Looking back on it today, I do regret robbing her of that joy.  If you were to ask her, I know that she would say that we were just being boys and no matter how much we drove her crazy, she wouldn’t trade one minute of it.

Now it’s 2013, and Christmas has certainly taken on a different meaning to me.  I’m sure that most normal people mature at a much faster rate, but after 37 years I’ve finally accepted the fact that Christmas may not be about ME.  The other astonishing revelation is that I’m okay with that!  I have finally learned to truly appreciate that overwhelming joy that comes from the act of giving.  There’s no greater joy than watching a child on Christmas morning!  I love being able to give them the things that they have wished so hard for, even though Santa’s still getting all of the credit!

This Christmas is one of the most exciting that I’ve ever experienced.  This year, I’m excited to say that our family has grown exponentially!  Our family is no longer defined by the bodies gathered around our dinner table.  Because of Dream On 3, our family now includes the Batleys, the McNeals, the Corrells, the Thompsons, and the Bowers.  Our family now includes a wonderful Board of Directors, a small army of passionate volunteers, our healthcare partners, our sports community partners, and most importantly YOU…our faithful supporters!

Dream On 3 has provided us a vehicle in which we are able to give a special gift to some very deserving kids.  The best gift that we can give these kids and these families is more than just a day of surprises and celebrity interactions.  Our greatest desire is to gift our Dream Kids with something less tangible yet more sustaining…..HOPE.  We want to show our Dream Kids that no matter the challenges and obstacles that they have to overcome, they are never beyond being able to live out their dreams.

Hope is a very powerful force.  Although very similar, hope is not the same as optimism.  Optimism is seeing the glass as half-full.  Hope is being able to always see the beauty and expect the good in situations where the glass may actually be empty, or even broken.    Hope gives us the strength to live for today like we already know what’s in store for us tomorrow.  It is the force that pushes a solider to endure a living hell in a foreign land so that he may be able to hold his wife and children in his arms again.  It’s the thing that helps that single mom move back into the dating scene and allow herself to be loved again.  It’s the one thing that a parent holds on to when the doctor tells them that “it doesn’t look good.”  Hope is powerful.  Hope can be healing.  Hope can allow you to do things that you never thought you could do.  Hope is the real gift that we at Dream On 3 want to be able to give to our Dream Kids.

Hope sounds like a pretty awesome thing doesn’t it?  Here’s the best part…this Christmas we all get to experience that hope!  The greatest gift of all time was given to all of us about 2013 years ago.   We were given the gift of hope through the life and death of Jesus Christ.  We get to live today because we know what’s in store for us tomorrow. That hope tells us that one day we will all overcome our challenges, our broken bodies,  and our emotional pain.  Let us all take this time to rest in that Hope and to reflect on that Gift.  Merry Christmas Dream Team!

-Brandon Lindsey, Founder of Dream On 3

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Please help us make more Dreams come true for very deserving kids! Click here to help.

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

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