Everyone has a dream of doing something they love or meeting their heroes. But for some, sadly it remains only a dream, curtailed by many challenges such as lack of finance, poor health, etc. The Reach for a Dream Foundation this year celebrates 36 years of fulfilling the dreams of children throughout the country who are fighting life-threatening illnesses. 

Atlas Copco South Africa has a strong social responsibility ethos and the organisation recently donated funding to the Reach for a Dream Foundation.  “We are extremely thankful for Atlas Copco South Africa’s generous donation which will enable us to fulfil the dreams of children fighting life threatening illnesses and by doing so, help them to believe that tomorrow is worth fighting for,” says Natalie Lazaris, Head of Business at Reach For A Dream.

The Foundation is currently fulfilling five dreams a day, every day of the year, with the ultimate goal of reaching their 2024 target of making the dreams of 2 200 individual children, aged between 3 and 18 years come true. As a Non-Profit Organization and considering that each dream costs in the region of R5 000, Reach for a Dream appeals to companies, corporates, and individuals to assist in donating towards a dream.  

“We subsequently rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and corporates like Atlas Copco for funding. Transport is one of our highest costs, having to take the children and their families to the location where their dreams are fulfilled. Every donation contributes to making a child’s dream a reality and we welcome all funding with open arms.” Throughout the year the Foundation hosts several national projects and fundraisers to engage with people who would like to get involved in the work that we do, such as our largest annual fundraiser, slipper day.’ Natalie appeals to everyone to buy a R20 sticker in support of their Slipper Day on 31 May 2024 and help make dreams come true.

There are around 76 different types of life-threatening illnesses that affect children and when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, the family dynamic changes. There is tremendous strain not only on the sick child but also on the rest of the family, the parents and the siblings. The financial pressures can be crippling and the emotional impact can become overwhelming. Siblings may feel ostracized as the parents have to focus more on the ill child. “That is why we always include the family when we help make the dream of a sick child come true,” says Natalie Lazaris. “We offer a holistic family experience.” For a few hours, the whole family can put aside all their worries, trials and tribulations and the child can forget about the hospital bed and all the medications as they immerse themselves in their child’s dream day which is no longer a dream but a reality.

Natalie shares some of the amazing and diverse dreams of these brave children: “One youngster dreamed of being a soldier so Reach For A Dream took him to the grounds of the SANDF Airforce base where they explained to him what it takes to become a soldier. They even presented him with a medal. When the child sadly passed away, the army attended the funeral, to salute their fallen soldier.  Another child dreamt of swimming with the dolphins. The marine team placed the child in the water so that he could interact with the animals. It was as if the dolphins understood because they were so playful, gently splashing water on the child and carefully moving closer so that he could touch them.” 

“To see the joy on the faces of the children when they are living their dream is the best reward in the world. By giving the children, a special moment to experience their dream, we give them a memory that lasts longer that the dream day itself. The experience of their dream coming true, given them the strength and hope to believe that tomorrow if worth fighting for.”

“I wish to extend a personal thanks to Atlas Copco for their generous funding. You are so much more than a sponsor – you are a dream maker. It is our hope that we can continue this partnership with you in our journey of putting a smile on the faces of children fighting life threatening illnesses, by making their lifelong dreams come true,” concludes Natalie.

Noluthando Zondo, Communications Professional, Atlas Copco Holding – Sub Saharan Africa, says Reach for a Dream empowers dreams, transforming aspirations into tangible realities, illuminating the path of hope with each courageous step taken. In their embrace, impossibilities yield to the power of resilience, and every dreamer finds the wings to soar beyond the limits of circumstance. “As a mother, witnessing the budding dreams of our children is to glimpse the purest essence of hope taking flight. In nurturing their aspirations, we sow the seeds of possibility, knowing that in their flourishing, they’ll paint the world with the vibrant hues of their fulfilled dreams, and I am proud to have our organization support such a cause.”  

By Admin