I had the opportunity to learn for the first time what the Western Illinois Dream Factory is all about thanks to Karla Hildebrand who spoke to the Exchange Club Friday afternoon. Apparently, retired NFL Quarterback Kurt Warner already knew. 

In 1980, The Dream Factory began with one all-volunteer chapter in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Since then, The Dream Factory has grown into the largest all-volunteer children’s wish-granting organization in the United States. There are 32 local chapters including Quincy in the United States and they all operate with very dedicated volunteers who raise funds within the community and then use those funds to grant the dreams of local children between the ages of 3 and 18.

The money raised by The Dream Factory is used to grant the dreams of critically as well as chronically ill children which makes it different that other wish granting operations. It does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illness.

Karla got involved in this organization after her son, who was suffering from a chronic illness, had his wish come true. According to Karla, filling his wish made all the difference in the world for him. He was a changed youngster.

So she has been volunteering to make wishes for other children happen as well. One such wish from a 9 year old Quincy boy named Kolton was for a chance to go to Universal Studios in Orlando. Meanwhile, former St. Louis Rams Quarterback Kurt Warner made it known that he would like to take ten youngster and their families to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for a week. Kolton is one of those youngsters.  Not only Warner be going along, but he has offered to pay for the entire cost of the trip for all ten youngsters and their families which is scheduled for this July.

If you would like more information on The Western Illinois Dream Factory, go to dreamfactoryinc.org .