Joanne Davidson recently did a fabulous write-up in the Denver Post about the good deeds of many of our young philanthropic leaders in Colorado. Another member of the “new guard” is none other than 27 year old, two-time Olympic Skier, former NFL football player - and Colorado native - Jeremy Bloom.
Bloom launched the “Jeremy Bloom Wish of a Lifetime Foundation” in 2008 which he created in honor of his living (and his constant inspiration) 83 year old grandmother, Donna Wheeler. The foundation's mission is to help low-income seniors (throughout our Rocky Mountain State) experience their lifelong wishes.
The multi-talented, “dual-sport” athlete (who also has a black-belt in Taekwondo) explains: “The Jeremy Bloom Wish of a Lifetime Foundation is built on the premise that senior citizens should be respected, honored and aided in our society. They have given a lifetime of service, wisdom and most of all love to their community and families. It's not hard to see the challenges that seniors face on a daily basis. Our Foundation will make lifelong dreams come true to seniors. I believe many people regrettably move on from this world with unfilled dreams.”
Jeremy’s compassion and dedication to low-income seniors is quite admirable. Bloom is remarkably humble and centered for someone who has received so much notice and acclaim. Jeremy goes on to tell us: “I have been very fortunate in my own life to have had the ability and the resources to chase every dream that I have ever imagined, and I am delighted to start a foundation that will help others do the same.”
Many of the people Jeremy and his foundation will serve only have a small amount of resources to pay for basic needs. Sometimes without having any family or friends nearby, our elders in this country are suffering from loneliness or neglect.
It’s pretty impressive what the focused and steadfast Jeremy Bloom has accomplished before the age of 30 – wouldn’t you say?
(Jeremy’s “Wish of a Lifetime Foundation” is celebrating its first fundraising event on Thursday, April 30, 2009, at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Denver. Go to the Blacktie-Colorado April Event Calendar for more details.)
Jeremy, can you tell us a little bit about how "Wish of a Lifetime" got started?
Growing up in Colorado both my grandmother on my mother’s side (Donna Wheeler) and my grandfather on my dad’s side (Jerry Bloom) were major influences on both my personal and athletic life. My grandmother lived with our family growing up and was really like a second mother to me. My grandfather was my first ski coach when I was three years old. He taught me to ski by throwing candy bars down the mountain and I would race down and get them.
What does your organization provide for "low income" seniors?
Our foundation grants life-long wishes to well deserving low income seniors in Colorado. Our mission contributes to an American cultural change that honors and celebrates the lives of our elders. We aim to grant wishes to seniors who have lived a life of service to their families and communities and those who have overcome great adversity and challenge in their own life
How do you hope to improve their quality of life?
It is a very difficult world for low income seniors and we try to bring enrichment and fulfillment to their life.
What upcoming fundraising events do you have planned?
Our first annual fund raiser is on April 30th at the Ritz Carlton in Denver. It is a hot ticket with appearances by my friends; Apolo Ohno, Chauncey Billups, Brady Quinn, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Marshall. Live music by the wonderful Hazel Miller band, comedy by Dr. Fitzgerald and hosted by Susie Wargin. Only a few tickets remain, come join us for an unforgettable night!
How can we get more of the younger generation involved in helping our seniors?
One step at a time. We have a very powerful board of directors with many brilliant minds. Currently we are a registered Colorado non profit but our national plan is very unique and will help bring younger people to buy into and support our cause.
What can all of us do to be advocates for seniors?
Simple things like holding open a door, offering up your seat on the bus, calling your own grandparents to talk about their life. Seniors often lose close friends and family members, and they can become very lonely with not many people to talk with. But they have wonderful stories and wisdom to share.
There are times when family members are overwhelmed with the responsibilities and needs of a senior in their family. What would your message be to them?
I think many younger people become overwhelmed with the responsibility of elderly family members, but it’s important to remember that when we were children they were probably overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of us. It’s only right that we do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of.
How do you hope to accomplish your goals with "Wish of a Lifetime" - why is this mission so important to you?
The Wish of a Lifetime Foundation is my biggest accomplishment to date. My gold medals and trophies are nice decorations in my basements and I’m proud of every single one, but they don’t change other people’s lives. Being involved first hand in changing someone’s life is a powerful experience that is difficult to put into words.
What is the personal quote that is mentioned in many of your write-ups?
"Compete like you're number one, but train like you're number two."
What is your favorite sports movie? “Remember the Titans”
What football player do you look up to the most? John Elway
Aside from a family member, who is your hero? Pat Tillman
In general, what gives you hope for the future?
My commitment to live a life of purpose; always chasing goals, facing challenges, finding new passions, learning from the set backs, progressing forward and helping a stranger along the way.