Young Hospice Patient Had His Two Dreams Fulfilled

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Daniel Gurd wanted two things before he died -- to see a Diamondbacks game and meet Randy Johnson. His wishes came true.

Through the efforts of his social worker at RTA Hospice, Lois Atkin, and the Dream Foundation, those wishes were realized a month before Gurd lost his life.

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Daniel Gurd and his family were introduced to Randy Johnson June 21, only a month before Gurd lost his life to a terminal illness. Johnson spent time visiting with the young man and even gave him a pair of baseball shoes he had custom-made while he was with the New York Yankees.

The Dream Foundation is the only nonprofit organization granting dreams to adults with terminal illnesses. Atkin contacted the foundation and made an application on Gurd's behalf.

One of the questions on the application was, "how will this dream provide the patient with a greater sense of comfort and fulfillment?" Atkin responded, "the warmth that is derived by patients receiving the heartfelt kindness of caring people willing to walk the journey with them provides a peace and comfort that helps get them through."

Gurd, along with his sister and nephew, went to Phoenix June 21. They were given a suite in the Hyatt Regency, compliments of the hotel, and then went to batting practice to meet Johnson.

Sharing the experience with Atkin, Gurd said Johnson made him feel very special. Not only did he spend a lot of time talking with him, but he also gave Gurd a pair of his custom-made baseball shoes, an autographed baseball, T-shirt, hat and picture.

Gurd and his family were given tickets to that evening's game between the Arizona Diamond-backs and Baltimore Orioles, plus $200 for refreshments, memorabilia and more.

"We are so appreciative to the Dream Foundation, especially Dream Manager Sue Anderson, and Randy Johnson and all those involved to make this dream come true. And for a day, Daniel was free of pain," Atkin said, speaking for herself and Gurd's family.

Gurd died at Hospice House July 21.

"We're sure he is in heaven, maybe talking to the Good Lord, and putting in a good word about the Diamondbacks winning the World Series," Atkin said.

To learn more about the Dream Foundation, write to 1528 Chapala, Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 or visit www.dreamfoundation.org.

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