Club Aids Nonprofit Dreams Come True With A Trip On The River


Jacksonville Times

Club Aids Nonprofit Dreams Come True With A Trip On The River

Dreamer Angelika Sedyuk found the perfect seat on the Fellowship boat following the christening of the Dreams Come True boat at Freedom Boat Club. (Courtesy Dreams Come True)

For the second year in a row, Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville gave children from the non-profit Dreams Come True a day out on the St. Johns River on March 31 and included them in a unique ceremony.

Dreams Come True has granted more than 3,600 dreams to children facing life-threatening illnesses in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia for over 30 years.

Executive Director Sheri Criswell said the organization is entirely dependent on partners like the Freedom Boat Club to provide dreams to children.

“Without people like them who are willing to support our cause, we couldn’t provide dreams to our children,” she said. “Our kids love to know someone in the community cares about them and is cheering for them as they battle a life-threatening illness.”

The Freedom Boat Club, which operates out of Julington Creek Marina in Jacksonville and at Camachee Cove Marina in St. Augustine, took nine families for a cruise on the St. Johns River.

The club provided six boats for the 30-minute ride, which started at the Julington Creek Marina and went to Green Cove Springs.

Before the boats took off, the Freedom Boat Club held a ceremony to christen their newest boat, a 21-foot Key West bow rider, the Dreams Come True.

“We love being able to serve these great kids and honor this organization,” Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville owner Lisa Almeida said in a statement. “We wanted to do something memorable and special and we were pleased to name a boat in its honor and in honor of all the children it serves.”

Aleksandra Sedyuk took her daughter Angelika who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia on the boat ride.

“My daughter loves anything that has to do with water and she’s infatuated with mermaids, which the organization knew, so whenever they have any water activities they always think of her,” Sedyuk said. “It was an amazing experience and it was good to see other families and meet new families.”

Sedyuk added that it’s been great for her to connect with other families who are going through similar circumstances.

“Other people don’t necessarily understand what you’re going through and the struggles of having a child who is really sick and you often feel like you’re in a bubble,” she said. “You can relate to these families and get advice from experienced parents, so it’s amazing to have that network and support.”

Renee Cotromano and her 10-year-old son, Joey, who has a blood disorder, both jumped at the opportunity to attend the boat trip as he loves anything that has to do with the water.

“It was such a nice morning and the people were wonderful,” she said. “It makes him feel special and that he’s not forgotten.”

Cotromano added that the boat trip was an opportunity to see families outside of the hospital.

“It was nice to see the children having fun rather than receiving treatments,” she said. “I hope the organization has the financial backing to keep doing what they’re doing, because it really makes a difference for these kids.”

Criswell said the organization has more than 340 children who are in the process of dreaming.

“We survey our children when they’re referred to us by their physician and we try to pair kids with like interests such as boating or swimming,” she said. “The number of dreams we provide is growing, so we hope to raise more money for more dreamers to experience their dream come true.”

Criswell added that events like the boat ride are crucial to the organization’s success.

“We couldn’t fulfill our mission without events like this or without groups who are willing to use their resources for our children,” she said. “We hope to make the experience positive for our donors so they’ll want to come back year after year.”

For more information on Dreams Come True, call (904) 296-3030 or visit www.dreamscometrue.org.

Ann Friedman: (904) 359-4619

 

Club Aids Nonprofit Dreams Come True With A Trip On The River

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