News & Resources

Don't Stop Dreamin' Blog & Event Archives

Don’t Stop Dreamin’, (a 501c3 non-profit organization) provides for the fulfillment of resident DREAMS in the Quality Life Services nursing, rehab and personal care homes throughout Western Pennsylvania and Three Rivers Hospice.

Don’t Stop Dreamin’ hosted Quality Life Services’ 2019 Spring Cook Off at the Double Tree by Hilton in Cranberry.

Don’t Stop Dreamin’ hosted Quality Life Services’ 2019 Spring Cook Off at the Double Tree by Hilton in Cranberry.

Do you camp or do you “glamp”? 🔥⛺️🌲

Yesterday, April 23rd, 2019, residents and staff of Quality Life Services pitched a few tents and totally glamp’ed it up at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry for their annual Cook Off event, presented by us!

For the Cook Off this year we gave Quality Life Services the theme of “Glamping”, to which each of their locations had to cooked up some of their yummy camping food favorites!

Residents from all of their locations had the opportunity to mingle with one another while tasting all of the delicious food.

Quality Life Services’ Henry Clay location won, for their second consecutive year, for their Pulled BBQ Chicken with Mango Slaw, Roasted Glazed Vegetables & Mountain Berry Baked Apples; which was decided by our judges from First National Bank, Sysco Pittsburgh, and Blue Sky Therapy.

While their Apollo location won People’s Choice Award for Best Booth Design voted by their residents.

Awards were presented by Mary Susan Tack-Yurek, President of Don’t Stop Dreamin’ and Chief Quality Office of Quality Life Services, and Katherine Mastrangelo who was crowned Ms. Quality Life 2018 last year at our pageant.

Local College Students Capturing Stories Of Seniors’ Lifetime

Local College Students Capturing Stories Of Seniors’ Lifetime

Dream Chasers is a registered program of Don’t Stop Dreamin’ whereby Don’t Stop Dreamin’ partners with institutions of higher education such as colleges and universities throughout Western Pennsylvania and the facilities in the Quality Life Services continuum of care. The program focuses on learning how individual’s unique perspectives, values and aspirations are shaped by his / her background and life experiences.

Students of the respective college or university will be paired with Quality Life Services residents with whom they will engage in a semi-structured oral history dialogue with periodic group activities. Students will use the Legacy Recorder as a simple tool to help the residents tell their stories to the students.  The goal is to capture their stories of a lifetime, one page at a time.

The program will culminate through a celebratory gathering to honor the residents by sharing what life lessons have been revealed over the course of a semester and what legacies the students are taking into their own lives as the result.

Currently we have Slippery Rock students at Quality Life Services’ locations: 13 students at Chicora, 9 students at Mercer and 9 students at Grove City.  The program began the spring semester of 2017 at Grove City and just this semester expanded to Quality Life Services – Chicora.  Their Mercer location came on board fall 2018.  The students will have 6 sessions at each facility. Students are paired with residents based on similar interests. 

For more information on our Dream Chasers program or to learn about becoming a partnered university/college, give us a call at: (724)431-0770

Fundraiser Spotlight: Erica Lorenz-Hays

Fundraiser Spotlight: Erica Lorenz-Hays


Thank You Erica for raising $210.00 to help create #DreamComeTrueExperiences for your birthday!

For her birthday, Erica asked family and friends for donations to Don’t Stop Dreamin’.


“For my birthday I wanted to do something meaningful. So I asked for donations to Don’t Stop Dreamin’. I had chosen DSD because their mission means a lot to me. I was with high hopes that family and friends would consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me.

– Erica

#DreamComeTrueExperiences and moments, like mentioned above, are made possible thanks to you and other generous supporters of Don’t Stop Dreamin’. Dreams may be – but are not limited to – day or overnight excursions, celebrations, attendance at special events, renewal of hobbies or special interests, once-in-a-lifetime experiences or the rental of electronic devices for leisure or staying in touch with family and friends. We encourage our applicants to DREAM BIG!



THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who donated! I’m excited to let you all know about the dreams that will happen because of your support! <3

– Erica




Fundraiser Spotlight:  Travis Crotallo

Fundraiser Spotlight: Travis Crotallo

Thank You Travis for raising $260.00 to help create #DreamComeTrueExperiences for your birthday!

For his birthday this year, Travis asked his friends and family for donations to Don’t Stop Dreamin’.

Over the course of the last two years, Travis lost both of his grandparents, on his mother’s side, both suddenly and very unexpected. His grandparents were considered a second set of parents to him.

Their love, support and open hearts helped form him into the individual he claims to be today. Travis mentioned that he was “very lucky” and “forever grateful” for the 24 and 25 years that he got to spend with them.

Being able to give back to their generation, and most of all to those whom may not have families and or are terminal, through the gift of dream experiences is life changing. Through supporting Don’t Stop Dreamin’ over the last two years, I have had the chance to witness dreams such as: airplane co-piloting, first trip ever to the beach at the age of 85, and family reunions before a loved one passed.

– Travis

#DreamComeTrueExperiences and moments, like mentioned above, are made possible thanks to you and other generous supporters of Don’t Stop Dreamin’. Dreams may be – but are not limited to – day or overnight excursions, celebrations, attendance at special events, renewal of hobbies or special interests, once-in-a-lifetime experiences or the rental of electronic devices for leisure or staying in touch with family and friends. We encourage our applicants to DREAM BIG!

Fundraiser Spotlight: Alexandra Crimaldi


Thank You Alexandra for raising $85.00 to help create #DreamComeTrueExperiences for your birthday!

Alexandra (Allie), is the Dream Ambassador and Customer Experience Director at Quality Life Services – Apollo. Along with tending and interacting with the residents, her favorite part of her job is promoting Don’t Stop Dreamin’.


“I am so blessed to work for a company that let’s me be a part of these dreams! I have gotten to see so many smiles, tears, celebrations and milestones achieved for my residents in the past years.”

– Allie

#DreamComeTrueExperiences and moments, like mentioned above, are made possible thanks to you and other generous supporters of Don’t Stop Dreamin’. Dreams may be – but are not limited to – day or overnight excursions, celebrations, attendance at special events, renewal of hobbies or special interests, once-in-a-lifetime experiences or the rental of electronic devices for leisure or staying in touch with family and friends. We encourage our applicants to DREAM BIG!


“My soul fills with joy just thinking about it. This organization is near and dear to my heart and I cannot be more proud to be a part of it!”

– Allie

How virtual reality is giving the elderly remarkable end-of-life adventures

Featured Article from: https://www.bigissue.com/latest/technology/how-virtual-reality-is-giving-the-elderly-remarkable-end-of-life-adventures/

Written By:
Ben Sullivan

Virtual reality has promised to enrich our future for decades. But it’s only now, in hospices around the world, is the technology seemingly bringing a benefit to societyDecember 12, 2018

It feels, at least in popular culture, that we’ve had decades of false starts for virtual reality. Promised to be the future of entertainment for the masses as far back as the 1950s, it wasn’t until 1991 that Sega released the first consumer virtual reality (VR) gaming headset with the Sega VR1. But it’s only now, nearly 30 years later, that VR is really living up to its promise of transporting users away from their living rooms and into new worlds. Devices like the HTCVive and Oculus Rift have upended the video game industry, allowing gamers to shoot, feel and see places just not possible in real life.

Because of this, care of the elderly may not be the first thing you think of when imagining virtual reality, but that’s exactly the mission of Scottish social enterprise and Big Issue Invest investee Viarama, which instead of using virtual reality to placate the next generation of Ready Player Ones, is using the immersive power of the technology to improve the lives of senior citizens who are receiving end-of-life care.

Viarama was founded in 2015, and it touts itself as Scotland’s first virtual reality company. The social enterprise works with all age ranges across education and healthcare to improve quality of life, and even trains 18 to 24-year-olds in using the technology so they can go on to help others. But it’s Viarama’s work in hospices and palliative care that really shines through in giving real benefits to society.

“Most people can understand how children love to interact with technology. However, something that’s less understood is its impact on senior citizens and how they respond to it,” Billy Agnew, chief executive of Viarama, told The Big Issue.

I was absolutely staggered by how much they enjoyed the experience, and how powerful it was for them

“Viarama first became involved with the elderly a few years ago because we are working on a VR tool to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, so we started using it with a variety of senior citizen groups.

“I was absolutely staggered by how much they enjoyed the experience, and how powerful it was for them. The response was incredibly emotional, which was something that I was mostly unprepared for.”

Using the most up-to-date computers coupled with HTC Vive headsets and Google Earth VR software, Viarama is taking those in nursing homes or hospices on journeys they never thought possible again in their lives.

“In a hospice situation, we are going in there and letting people ‘travel’ the world. We are letting people travel to where they got married, or where they did their national service, and to places that they never thought they would be able to see,” said Agnew. “It’s quite often hugely moving. The first time we worked in a hospice we had two doctors who were in to evaluate what we were doing, and both of the doctors broke down because it was so emotional.”

The powerful properties of virtual reality for the elderly and those with mental health problems is a trend rapidly gaining pace worldwide. Doctors are using VR in the treatment of soldiers with PTSD to determine triggers of flashbacks and to alleviate anxiety. Researchers are also using VR in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia to help them manage their hallucinations.

Royal Trinity Hospice in London is currently on a year-long study to examine the benefits of VR in palliative care, and existing research into the technology is proving that VR experiences are indeed giving people living with illnesses and terminal conditions a better quality of life. A recent study from the University of Tokyo, examining VR for palliative medicine at the National Cancer Center Hospital in Japan, concluded that “VR technology can be applied to palliative medicine to support communication between the patient and others, to provide psychological support to treat neurosis and help to stabilise the patient’s mental state, and to actually treat cancer.”

For Agnew and Viarama, it’s this quality-of-life support that’s the most helpful and rewarding aspect of what they do.

“We’ve had mountain climbers climbing mountains, we’ve had artists who have dementia who have had to give up their life’s work, and we let them draw, paint and sculpt in VR,” said Agnew. “You need to let people have fun in their life, and we provide that, and it’s wonderful.”

An engine for Bruce

In October we got the opportunity to fulfill a dream that I don’t think any of us at DSD could ever imagined fulfilling. We received a dream application from our staff at Three Rivers Hospice for a gentleman by the name of Bruce. You would never expect what Bruce’s dream was before reading the title to this blog. Bruce dreamed of receiving an engine for his car so that he could travel locally and visit his wife, who was also on hospice, and his family (3 sons, 1 daughter, 3 step-kids, and 9 grandchildren) while he was still physically capable. He wanted to be able to build lasting memories with his family while he could without having to rely on others.

At first we thought his dream was impossible to fulfill… Shortly after reviewing his medical information and getting the clearance for our hospice medical director, we set out to make Bruce’s dream come true!

With the help of our staff at Three Rivers Hospice and Bruce’s family, we were quickly able to locate him a matching engine for his vehicle. With the generous donations received from our donors we were able to purchase the engine from a second hand vehicle parts yard. After the engine was purchased Bruce’s family worked effortlessly to remove his old engine and swap it out with the new functioning one.

The smile that our staff got to witness on Bruce’s face when he got into his car to drive to see his wife was true #DreamComeTrueExperience.

Laugh For Love

Laugh For Love is a comedy event that helps to make Dreams come true. On February 16, 2019, Don’t Stop Dreamin’ will host its 4th Annual Laugh For Love at the DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Cranberry. Doors open at 6:00p.m. with a cash bar and the Italian Bistro Buffet begins at 6:45p.m. After an opening act the popular Pittsburgh personality Jimmy Krenn will entertain guests with his well-known comedy. An extensive raffle basket display will be offered for guests to peruse and help support Don’t Stop Dreamin’.

Tickets are $55 and are available through Ticketleap (link below)

If you would like to help support Dreams in 2019 we offer various sponsorships for Laugh For Love. Please download our brochure here for more information.

View/Download sponsorship brochure here.