Joan receives hospice care at home, and over the last several months she has naturally grown used to her surroundings. However, Joan, a native New Yorker, has never been known for standing still or staying in one place for too long. Joan’s doting daughter, Sandra, and her hospice social worker, Kelsey, hoped that a Dream could mix up Joan’s routine just enough to put the sparkle back in this mover and shaker’s eye.

Cupcake and flowers

Joan’s dream was to celebrate her 86th birthday at one of her favorite places: Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, with all her favorite people: her family!  Dreamweaver Foundation arranged wheelchair van transportation with Beautiful Life Medical Transport. A couple of days before her Dream trip to the casino, we stopped by to surprise Joan with birthday cupcakes, flowers, and “play money” for her big day. That day, we could tell Joan’s initial excitement for getting back out into the world again had become overshadowed by her growing anxiety about being away from her comfort zone for too long. We knew that Joan would need a safe home-base for this outing, so we called our friends at Horseshoe’s to see if they could help us reserve a space away from the action where Joan would be able to recharge her battery

in case she felt overwhelmed.  Horseshoe Casino generously reserved the large back section of JB’s Café for the afternoon and treated Joan and her family to lunch. With her family by her side and knowing that she had a place to rest and collect herself during her casino visit, plus the wheelchair van driver’s phone number in case she wanted to leave early, Joan had the confidence she needed to embark on her Dream!

The first step is always the hardest. But it didn’t take her long to find a penny slot machine she liked!  She happily camped out at the machine as her family watched the sparkle return to her eye.  Luck was on her side that day, and when it was time to go home, she didn’t want the Dream to end! She eventually returned home with a few more dollars in her pocket, new memories she would hold onto forever, and feeling more like herself than she had in a long time.

Dreamweaver Foundation would like to thank Serene Care Hospice for introducing us to Joan through the nomination process and Beautiful Life Medical Transport for helping to get Joan back to one of her happy places!  We would also like to thank Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino for their hospitality and for going the extra mile to make Joan’s afternoon getaway extra-special!