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Rick Genoni

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My son, John, was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, neurogenic bowel and bladder, and epilepsy. He’s paralyzed from the waist down. John approaches every day with the bravery of a soldier and a smile that can light up a room. But, as his mother, my heart breaks for him. 

I tried repeatedly to have a wish granted for John, but received countless denial letters from other organizations saying he wasn’t eligible because his illness wasn’t life-threatening or severe enough. I’d almost given up hope until I came across the Dream Factory and spoke to Rick Genoni, president and founder of the Pennsylvania chapter. 

Dream Factory is the second-largest organization of its kind in the United States, having granted over 25,000 dreams to deserving children since 1980. They’re the only such organization that doesn’t limit its mission to children with life-threatening illnesses. 

I remember the day Rick called me, responding to my request. It didn’t take long for him to hear my frustrations, assure me that they could help, and remind me that I was a great parent and doing all the right things. 

I learned through our conversations that Rick had his own story. He and his wife separated and eventually divorced. He was heartbroken. Rather than feel sorry for himself, he reminded himself how grateful he was for having such healthy and happy children. While others might have selfishly thought only about themselves, Rick focused on finding a way to give back to those less fortunate. 

As a parent of a child who’s received a dream, it has provided me confidence and self-esteem, hope and love, and a feeling of acceptance and importance. The Dream Factory is a dream come true.

—Christle Chapman,
Dream Factory beneficiary

Rick Genoni