By: Dorothy Foltz- Gray
(photo courtesy of Caitlin Crommett)
When Caitlin Crommett volunteered at Hospice Care of the West in Foothill Ranch, California, her job consisted of filing and singing at memorial services. "I saw the effects the songs had on families, and it made me want to interact more with the patients," says Crommett.
Inspired in 2009, she says, by Patch Adams, a movie featuring a doctor who entertains his patients, Crommett envisioned a group that could grant wishes to terminally ill patientsâ€”and Dream Catchers was born. One beneficiary was Ann Klein, whose husband, Bernard, was a hospice patient. Says Klein, "We had sailed every weekend for years. I said, 'If I get Bernard on a sailboat one more time, he'll really love it.'"
Soon after, Crommett met up at a nearby harbor with the couple and their extended family. When the crew of the chartered 82-foot doublemast schooner lifted Bernard aboard, "he started laughing," Klein says. "It was the first time we had laughed together in a long time."
Crommett will bring Dream Catchers along with her when she starts college at Notre Dame this fall. "I can't imagine not doing it," she says.