Donna's Dreamers Inc. 

Our Story

Donna’s Dreamers is a non-profit organization established in honor of my late mother Donna, who fought a battle with lung cancer and lost that battle in September 2010, my sophomore year in college.

Our mission is to help support young people who have lost a parent or guardian to cancer, by providing scholarships to help encourage higher education. Our long-term goal is to be able to provide an avenue of support for children and young adults to connect with others who have or are currently experiencing the life struggles associated with loss due to cancer. My mother Donna was a very supportive and compassionate person. She would do anything for anyone and would often drop what she was doing to lend a hand. It is our hope this non-profit can help Donna continue to “lend a hand”.
Let me tell you about Donna. Donna worked with children from the time she was in high school. She volunteered at living and learning in Massachusetts and was one of the founding administrators at Little Sprouts in 1985. She then opened her own family daycare, which she ran out of her home for eight years, providing a safe, nurturing and educational environment for many children. Donna decided to head back to school to become a massage therapist and start her own business “Step to Wellness”. Additionally, to help overcome her fear of public speaking and fulfill a dream of becoming an educator, she accepted a position as a massage therapy instructor. She ran her own business and taught massage until she was diagnosed with cancer in July 2008. But that is not all she did.

Along with a handful of family members and friends she helped establish an interactive children’s museum in partnership with WGBH, called “Imajine That” which is located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Donna also taught First Aid and CPR, played taxi and goffer for my sister and me, cared for her parents, family and friends, and was the neighborhood baby sitter when someone was in a pinch. Donna was also a founding board member of Inspirational Ones, a non profit dedicated to creating access to civic opportunity through education, well-being and working with chronically challenged populations; the sister partner for Donna’s Dreamers. She did it all.
Education was very important to my mother. Donna encouraged and supported not only her children but also those around her to strive to be the best person they could, while working towards their dreams. She never accepted a simple answer of “I know”; she would reply, “To know and not to do, is not to know”. She always encouraged me while I was in school, helping me to stay true to my goals and never give up. Every time I questioned my educational path, I would remember what my mother had said and I would refocus. 
After my mother’s death I learned a lot about loss, about death and the grieving process, but most of all learned a lot about me. I would not be where I am today if I did not have an excellent support network. See that same year that I lost my mother; another student also lost their mother not long apart. Although we were not close friends, our current situation drew us to be. We exchanged numbers and if one of us was having a hard day we would go have lunch together or go to the other person’s room and just talk. Having that individual around made me feel a lot better. Although I had great friends in the rooms next to mine, they could only imagine what I was going through but had never actually felt what I was going though.

My experiences and struggles over the past six years lead me to establish this non-profit organization that will provide scholarships for children and young adults who have lost a parent or guardian to cancer. During my grieving I have come to realize how important having individuals around who are going through the same life struggles as you, which is why I decided to create Donna’s Dreamers.  
Future plans for Donna’s Dreamers include a space for children and young adults to interact with each other through support groups, counseling sessions and workshops to help them with the grieving process and move forward to healing.