Annabel Powell, Dream Maker - Dreams2Live4

Annabel Powell, Dream Maker

At Dreams2Live4, we are inspired everyday by the stories of our Dreamers. Stories that make you laugh and cry, that inspire, devastate and change you forever. The Dreams2Live4 team is dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives and working as a Dream maker, it is part of my job to make Dreams come true for cancer patients in the darkest times of their lives.

When I tell people my job title is ‘Dream Maker’ they always want to know what that means. I tell them it is listening and then helping a person choose the next step in their story: which is what I love most about the whole thing. Sometimes, I have the chance to do a face-to-face interview which is a very humbling experience. I am often seeing people when they are extremely vulnerable and are at the mercy of hospital visits, constant tests, scans and bad news. Cancer can strip patients of all sense of control. And that’s why a Dream is so important. It is about empowering a patient to choose to have something wonderful come into their lives. I love the saying “Be the rainbow in somebody’s cloud” and now we can all do this everyday.

I love watching a patient as their mind wanders, considering all the possibilities of what their Dream could be. We then set about organising, planning, phone calls, negotiations and discussions: doing everything we can to make their dream a reality. There is something so incredibly personal and emotional about seeing a Dream all the way through: from the Dream’s conception to the end. It is amazing how a dream can happen. Often it is as simple as call out to Facebook and someone will know someone who has the power to make a dream come true.

But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Sometimes I am taken by surprise and every so often, when I’m in the process of making someone’s Dream come true: they pass away. I feel in some ways I’ve let them down as they never got to experience what they set out to do. Irrational I know, but it’s hard not to feel this way when I know they won’t get to experience the magic of a Dream come true. I remember a Dreamer’s husband who cried on the phone to me saying although his wife didn’t make it to her dream, her last weeks of her life were filled with the magic of talking and planning it. He thanked me from the bottom of his heart. It was truly humbling.

My background is nursing, which has certainly given me a good grounding and insight to prepare me for this kind of work. I feel as though I have finally come full circle. Working with dreams has allowed me to draw on all those nursing skills and knowledge that has been idle for so long. I feel like I’m where I belong.

This job puts my life into perspective and it is something that I talk about at home with my family. Although they find my dreamers stories confronting, they get to also see that cancer does not have to define them. A lot of joy can be found in such sadness. Sometimes out of the blue, a Dreamer comes along that makes me very emotional. It’s not so much their story but how its told. A lot is revealed through voice. Often when a Dreamer realises there is an opportunity for a window of normality, the gratitude that I can hear in their voice makes it worth it.

My favourite story so far is that of Bryan. We received an emergency phone call from his family: he had taken a turn for the worse and had been admitted to the Palliative Care Unit in Young, NSW. He was desperate to have his brother Scott by his side. A simple request except Scott lived 13,000 kms away in Albuquerque, Texas.

In the space of 5 days, with the help of our amazing travel agents Anywhere Travel, Bryan’s brother made it to his bedside. But it was not an easy journey. He travelled from Alburquerque to Los Angeles, then Brisbane (a stop in New Caledonia due to fog in Brisbane) to Canberra then a road trip to Young. Not bad going. I received the most beautiful candid photos of the initial meeting between the brothers and that did make me cry.

We then received this update: “Bryan made it home today, even if for only a little while. Having his brother by his side has really boosted his will to fight and his determination to be able to get back home to share some quality time with his loved ones (and of course his cat. tehe). Having Scott here has meant that Bryan was able to be home with the support needed, as mum would not have been able to cope with this alone due to Bryan’s immobility. Bryan’s dream coming true gave them 7 more valuable days together”.

Our dreamer - Bryan | Dreams2Live4

This was the icing on the cake: to see and hear the Dream’s impact on Bryan. Seeing them reunite and just the rawness of it all really made it all worthwhile. I was very privileged to have been part of that and it will forever guide what I do during my time here at Dreams. This is truly what it feels like to be a Dream Maker.

This job has allowed me to be in contact with some remarkable people, who really go out of their way to help us with our dreamers. The travel agent, the limo man, the public relations people and sports managers, to name a few are so generous with their time and networks and it makes my job so much easier. Nothing is too much trouble! I am so honoured to be working with such wonderful girls and can’t thank them enough for letting me part of Dreams2Live4.

– From Annabel, the luckiest girl with the best job!

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Dreams2Live4 is a nationally registered charity helping patients living with metastatic cancer to fulfill their dreams
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