Believing that elderly have dreams, too, Olympic skier and former NFL player Jeremy Bloom grants wishes to about 400 seniors annually.
Bloom launched Wish of a Lifetime four years ago and originally named it in honor of his grandmother, Donna Wheeler, who he says inspired him growing up. Now, with the non-profit foundation’s help, people over the age of 65 can experience their lifelong dreams ranging from simple to elaborate ones.
His passion for helping the elderly has earned him the 2012 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award from the United States Sports Academy. The Humanitarian award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a concern for mankind and exhibited the qualities of dedication, grace under pressure, personal sacrifice, compassion, hope, and dignity that characterize the promotion of human welfare and social reform.
“These people are national treasures,” says Bloom, who received the award Feb. 11 in San Francisco from Academy’s Board of Trustees member Dr. Robert Block.
In the past year, wishes have ranged from visiting the University of Oregon football players and coaches to riding in a World War II fighter jet.
Bloom is a three-time World Champion, two-time Olympian and 11-time World Cup gold medalist in freestyle moguls skiing. In 2005, he won a record six straight World Cup events, the most in a single season in the sport’s history. He was an All-American football player at the University of Colorado and has played professional football as a wide receiver and return specialist for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information, call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website www.ussa.edu.
Wish of a Lifetime aims to inspire a generation and create a cultural shift in how we view aging in America. By granting lifelong wishes to seniors ages 65 and older who have overcome tremendous challenges in their lives, the organization is able to spread inspirational stories of hope. Two-time Olympic skier, World Cup gold medalist, entrepreneur and former NFL football player Jeremy Bloom established the foundation in 2008 in living honor of his grandmother, Donna Wheeler. In 2011, Wish of a Lifetime granted 191 wishes, and 95 percent of wish recipients stated they felt their quality of life improved after having their wish granted. In addition, 96 percent reported an increase in physical health, and 94 percent said they felt an increase in their overall purpose in life. Since 2008, Wish of a Lifetime has made more than 400 hundred wishes come true for seniors in 45 states and the District of Columbia. For more information about the organization, and to help fulfill a senior’s wish, visit www.seniorwish.org.