California Teenager Grants Wishes to Terminally Ill Patients

Inspired by the movie Patch Adams, Caitlin Crommett founded Dream Catchers to grant wishes to terminally ill patients.

By Dorothy Foltz-Gray from Reader's Digest | September 2011
Caitlin CrommettCourtesy Caitlin Crommett

Our hero: Caitlin Crommet, 17

Where she lives: Rancho Santa Margarita, California

How she helps: Grants wishes to terminally ill patients

When Caitlin Crommett volunteered at Hospice Care of the West in Foothill Ranch, California, her job consisted of filing and singing at memorial services. “I saw the effects the songs had on families, and it made me want to interact more with the patients,” says Crommett.

Inspired in 2009, she says, by Patch Adams, a movie featuring a doctor who entertains his patients, Crommett envisioned a group that could grant wishes to terminally ill patients—and Dream Catchers was born. One beneficiary was Ann Klein, whose husband, Bernard, was a hospice patient. Says Klein, “We had sailed every weekend for years. I said, ‘If I get Bernard on a sailboat one more time, he’ll really love it.'”

Soon after, Crommett met up at a nearby harbor with the couple and their extended family. When the crew of the chartered 82-foot doublemast schooner lifted Bernard aboard, “he started laughing,” Klein says. “It was the first time we had laughed together in a long time.”

Crommett will bring Dream Catchers along with her when she starts college at Notre Dame this fall. “I can’t imagine not doing it,” she says.

To donate to Crommett’s cause, go to

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