Woman’s symphony wish is granted
Foundation fulfills end-of-life dreams
Up until a dozen years ago, Marilyn Cramer played the French horn in the Johnstown Symphony.
Now, Ms. Cramer is 85 years old and uses a wheelchair. A resident at Orion Personal Care Residence in Hampton, she has dementia and Parkinson’s disease. A recent stroke has further limited her ability to speak.
On Saturday, Ms. Cramer attended the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s annual gala, thanks to the Dream Foundation, an organization dedicated to fulfilling the end-of-life dreams of terminally ill adults with less than a year to live.
“We wanted to do something special for her,” said Brandi Bankston, administrator of Orion Personal Care Home. Ms. Bankston planned to attend the concert with Ms. Cramer as well as Cindy Toy, another caretaker at Orion. “She doesn’t vocalize much, but when we told her that we were taking her to the symphony she lit up the room with the biggest smile.”
Several months ago, Amedisys, a home hospice organization, recommended Ms. Cramer for hospice care because of her diagnoses with senile degeneration and Parkinson’s. In July, her caregivers contacted the Dream Foundation.
The Dream Foundation, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., has worked with more than 27,000 families since it was founded in 1993. According to a spokesperson for the foundation, dreams vary considerably, but they honor requests to spend an evening at the symphony, the opera or the theater fairly often.
The foundation also purchased an evening gown and accessories for Ms. Cramer and rented a limousine to transport her to the symphony at Heinz Hall.
Other dreams fulfilled in Allegheny County in 2017 have included a recipient seeing a brother one last time for lunch; getting a trip to Ocean City, Md.; and attending a Green Bay Packers game at