Katlyn’s Dream provides comfort to kids suffering from long-term illness.

Written by Temple Kinyon

How many seven-year-old girls begin fundraising and go on to have a non-profit organization by the time they’re 17? Here’s one.

After a suffering from a long, undiagnosed illness that perplexed doctors locally, Katlyn Oaks received the diagnosis of mitochondrial disease on her tenth birthday. “Las Vegas doctors referred us to specialists in Los Angeles who diagnosed her. It was a relief to finally know,” Katlyn’s mom, Ruth, explained.

katlynKatlyn, her mom, and her dad, James, frequently stay at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in LA to be close to specialists. It was there that inspiration hit Katlyn. “Many children suffering from long-term illness are from one- or no-income families because they require 24-hour care, like me,” Katlyn said. “A lot of families from Las Vegas stay at LA RMH, so I started raising money to help.”

Katlyn’s first success was a 10’ U-Haul stuffed with toys for Summerlin Hospital. Her continual focus on “Walk for Kids” to raise money for the LA RMH allowed sponsorship of a suite there named in honor of Katlyn and her aunt. It also earned her Top Fundraiser award in 2013 and 2014. “People find it hard to say no to her,” Ruth said.

katlyn awardLast fall, Katlyn received a visitor while she was at Summerlin Hospital—County Commissioner Steve Sisolak “He kept asking what he could do for me, and I told him he could help me raise money,” Katlyn grinned. The combined efforts of Sisolak, former Sheriff Doug Gillespie, and businessmen Bob Ellis, Bill Marion, and George Kelessis made Katlyn’s non-profit a reality. “Katlyn’s Dream provides things for comfort, like birthday and holiday gifts, and for medical needs, like glasses for a two-year-old who lost an eye,” Katlyn said. Her fundraising total is $115,000 and continues to grow.

“Katlyn’s Dream is the culmination of her hard work,” Ruth explained. “The only thing limiting her is money. It’s never for a lack of ideas.”

You can be a part of Katlyn’s Dream at KatlynsDream.com.