Dreams Project aims to make important wishes come true


Bevan Lyons has a dream to fly drones to save as many lives as possible on Sydney’s beaches as he undergoes palliative care for a life-limiting condition.

Mr Lyons, 65, of Roseville, has dedicated part of the last stages of his life training to fly drones – officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) –to help surf lifesaving clubs patrol the Northern Beaches.

Mr Lyons, a former mechanic and Australian Grand Prix pit stop official, is living with severe pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease.

“My illness means I am not as mobile as I would like to be,” Mr Lyonssaid. “But I am still able enough to operate a drone and hopefully help save a life or two. This is my way of giving back to the community for as long as I can.”

The UAV patrols that sweep the beaches for up to 20 minutes a time are an eye in the sky to assist life savers spot sharks and swimmers in trouble.

Mr Lyons has already undergone instruction at the Surf Life Saving NSW Belrose headquarters to be formally trained for UAV flying. He has been rostered on for his first day as a volunteer with South Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club on Sunday, 24 November.

Mr Lyons’wish has been organised through the Dreams Project, a HammondCare initiative, in partnership with NSW Lifesaving Association and its sponsor Westpac.

The Dreams Project was established in 2010 as a way of assisting patients and their families to fulfil their dreams and wishes as they face a life-limiting illness. More than 160 patients undergoing palliative care with HammondCare have been in enjoying a final wish.

Dreams fulfilled have included weddings, weekends away with family, a night out at a favourite restaurant or a trip to the beach. In one dad’s case, he wanted to record a personal video as a keepsake memory for his four-year-old son.

For HammondCare Dreams Project Co-ordinator Dr Jenny Broadbent the initiative was about fulfilling modest dreams for people as they face a challenging time in their lives.

“Making a dream come true is an amazing gift for an individual at a stressful time. It’s a positive distraction from the challenges and pain that the end of life may bring,” she said.

Dr Broadbent said the dreams requested by patients are usually about emotional connection and meaning, making and leaving a legacy with family and friends.

“It’s wonderful that an organisation like Surf Life Saving NSW can work with Bevan, who is facing a challenging time, realise his dream to help the community in this way,” she said.