Story and photo by Debbi Casini Klein | Audio edited by Louis D’Aria
Can you imagine spending your entire life in and out of hospitals, having to go through 45 major operations by the time you’re only 26 years old?
That’s been Jamie Holmes’ life since the day she was born with a rare disorder, VATAR Syndrome.
“When she was born, she was born with all of these abnormalities” recalls her mom, Kimberly. “Her throat and esophagus were connected as one, that had to be separated, and she didn’t have a rectum. The kidney disintegrated in her body, so there is just one kidney that she has. They said Jamie would never walk or talk, and that if Jamie ever lived, she would be pretty much useless as a person.”
Jamie survived — and thrived — and although she averages two major operations a year, she has devoted her young life to helping others suffering from serious medical trauma.
At the age of 14, she came up with the idea of Jamie’s Dream Team. Her mission is to bring joy to others during the toughest time of their life by making whatever their dream is, come true.
“We are a nonprofit organization that grants dreams to terminally ill and severely injured kids and adults, or anyone suffering from a serious medical need” Jamie said.
She began soliciting monetary and in-kind donations from friends, family, neighbors, sponsors and her efforts snowballed. With the help of volunteers, Jamie’s Dream Team began spreading joy to so many and have continued to do so for the past 10 years.
More than 1,000 dreams have been granted, running the gamut from weddings and trips to concerts, birthday parties and much more. Jamie meets with every person, and along with her volunteers, and works tirelessly to make every dream come true. She also gets calls from around the country.
“It makes me feel good to help other people.” Jamie said, “to know that I can get them through a bad situation.”