Mike Bennett and Jason Soulliere of Oneday Dreams.  (Courtesy of Oneday Dreams)Mike Bennett and Jason Soulliere of Oneday Dreams. (Courtesy of Oneday Dreams)

New organization seeks to make hospice patients' final dream come true

A new charitable organization in Windsor-Essex hopes to soon grant patients in hospice care their final dream.

Mike Bennett and Jason Soulliere are the masterminds behind "Oneday Dreams," a sort-of "Make A Wish Foundation" for adults nearing the end of their lives.

The grass-roots organization hopes to launch this spring with some fundraisers. However, the two men have already managed to make a few dreams come true.

Soulliere recalled how five or six years ago, Bennett got in touch with him, hoping to connect a woman in her 20s with her favourite band, Marianas Trench.

At the time, Soulliere was working for a talent agency in Toronto that represented many Canadian artists, so he reached out to the band's management. The group agreed to do a private concert over Skype.

"Unfortunately, Caroline did pass away the day before the concert," said Soulliere. "The band did ask Caroline's family for a photo. The band actually posted it on all their socials, and it got thousands of shares, thousands of comments. Mike recently reconnected with the family, and they told them that people sharing it and complete strangers wishing the family love -- it was amazing for them to have that piece for their own grieving."

Another man in hospice care wanted to hear a new album by Shania Twain. Unfortunately, the album was not expected out until after he expected to die, so the duo got him an advance copy.

"He was one of the first people in the world to hear it," Soulliere recalled. "She even sent him a note thanking him for being a fan and wishing him strength."

Last February, Bennett was instrumental in getting Dwayne Johnson, also known as "The Rock," to create a video for Olivia Payne, a woman at the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

Bennett and Soulliere said the support they have received so far from the community has been overwhelming. Over the past week, they have heard from volunteers with experience operating charities. They said the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County is behind the project too.

However, granting these dreams can be expensive.

"The average dream, it can cost upwards of $3,000 depending on what it is," said Soulliere. "Mind you, that could be travel-related. It could be something for home comfort. The dream is as unique as the individual."

"Creating moments like this can mean everything to someone living through some of their most challenging days," added Bennett. "There's a lot of excitement about the fact that this is now another option."

He believes the initiative will take off across the country eventually.

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