A Dream A Day in Tokyo

Hospitality Guesthouse “A Dream A Day in Tokyo” runs facilities where children with life-threatening illnesses can spend quality time with their families that in turn create valuable memories. Working with the families, they create tailor-made experiences such as trips to Tokyo Disney Resort that help fulfil the dreams of children and families.

We spoke with Ms. Izumi Tsuda, Managing Director at the organisation.

FIT: Tell us about your background and what made you join “A Dream A Day in Tokyo.”
Tsuda: I used to work for an economic association that gave policy recommendations to companies about CSR activities, conducted related research, and supported NPOs from a third party perspective. I began to think whether there was anything more I could do, to move into a role where I could gain greater satisfaction by running such an organisation. Back then I had already been in touch with “A Dream A Day in Tokyo.” It has now been two years since they asked me to join and I have never regretted the decision.
I am the only full-time staff looking after day to day operations, but we operate with the support of many corporate volunteers, medical staff, and other supporters. It’s fulfilling work.

FIT: What are the activities of “A Dream A Day in Tokyo”?
Tsuda: We are in our tenth year of operation and each year we support about 10 children and their families.
Many kids battling with life threatening illnesses require emergency medical staff when boarding airplanes and hospital support in case of emergencies. Some even face challenges to go outdoors, so realising a child’s dream to, say, visit Disneyland brings on unimaginably high hurdles. Travel arrangements easily take one year to prepare. We visit the children at home and work with their families and medical staff to make all special arrangements to get closer to the goal. Still, if the child’s health situation suddenly deteriorates, we sometimes have to face the sad decision to cancel the trip.

FIT: Your work is surely filled with many sad moments. How do you stay motivated to continue?
Tsuda: Right until the moment we realise a child’s dream, the work is really hard. But once there, you see the children move hands and feet they supposedly couldn’t move, and get smiles on their faces that even their families haven’t seen before. Seeing these happy children, or mothers who support them day-in day-out frequently break out in tears, result in our own staff and volunteers sharing in their happiness. It’s those moments that keep us going. I feel elated and full of energy to continue.

FIT: What are the future prospects for your organisation?
Tsuda: The past decade has given us a sufficient organisational foundation. Children with critical illnesses require extensive care, and as each trip is tailor-made from scratch, it is not easy to expand our reach to more beneficiaries. However, we believe we have reached a stage where we can little by little expand this service by building on our experience and knowledge.
Most importantly, realizing a child’s dream and providing families with an invaluable experience is very fulfilling work. I would like more people to learn about what we do.

FIT: What do you personally want to do in the future?
Tsuda: I love what I do and plan to put much more energy into my work. I would like to strengthen the organisation's management and further expand our activities. I also would like to broaden our network with other NPOs providing similar services. We have jointly held seminars and events to share ideas, and I do enjoy fresh ideas and meeting new people.

FIT: What kind of people do you think are naturally inclined toward your organization?
Tsuda: Facing children battling life threatening illnesses makes you frequently ask yourself what life is. So this work is probably best suited to people who, in a good way, are not deep thinkers but are easy going and can enjoy a variety of experiences. Our organisation is not without its challenges and there are many issues to be addressed. That’s why it is important to enjoy the work fully each day.

FIT: Do you have a message for those who participate in the FIT For Charity Run?
Tsuda: I try to communicate with other organisations and companies in order to not bottle everything up inside me, and I do learn a lot from each new networking opportunity. Exchanging information and discussing concerns with other 2015 FIT Charity Run beneficiary organisations has been a great help and motivation for me. I would appreciate many more people finding interest in the work “A Dream A Day in Tokyo” does.

FIT: Tsuda-san, thank you for your time today.

FIT 2016 Co-VC Tae Ahn and Hospitality Guesthouse A Dream A Day In Tokyo Managing Director, Izumi Tsuda

To learn more about Tsuda-san’s wonderful work and Hospitality Guesthouse A Dream A Day In Tokyo, please visit their website here. (www.guesthouse.or.jp)