Hospice patient’s sky-high dream comes true

Irby Blakesley always dreamed of riding in a hot air balloon. 

Her daughter Carol Searpitto said, “She’s adventurous. She’s the one that has led everyone into trouble according to her cousin.”

Blakesley is 78 years old. She is in hospice care, suffers from ALS and is wheelchair-bound. It didn’t look like her wish would come true until she met a group of students in a club called Dreamcatchers. 


“We work with local hospices and they’ll reach out to us when they have a dreamer. Some of our most recent dreams are a family reunion. We did a book signing for a lady who really just wanted to publish her book her whole life,” said Sage Liu, Dreamcatchers member.

Dreamcatchers was started in 2009 by Caitlin Crommett, who traveled from her home in California to see this ride of a lifetime.
“I think it really expands their perspective,” Crommett said. “It gives them kind of a different view of life. It helps them to see that there’s really more to life than what’s going on with yourself and I think it helps them to really recognize this demographic of, like, typically elderly people who are often ignored in our society, so it gives an appreciation for them.” 


For Crommett and the teens, it’s all about giving back and bridging the generation gap. 

For Irby and her family, it’s about living life to the fullest.