Patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Experience Dream Vacations


St. Jude patient Hannah on a virtual dream vacation under the seas. 


For patients like little Kiara who are battling cancer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® in Memphis, TN, there are endless days and nights spent just dreaming about all the wonders of the world outside the four walls of their hospital room. Now, thanks to a partnership with Expedia, St. Jude patients will no longer have to just dream, because the world is being brought to them, virtually.

St. Jude patient and horse lover Kiara on a dream vacation 

The "Dream Adventures" campaign is the brain child of the creative ad agency 180LA who together with Expedia, seeks to give children at St. Jude virtual reality travel adventures as a form of healing power. "We hit on this insight that travel actually does have healing power, and when we were talking to the kids at St. Jude's, one of the things we found out was that a lot of them had dreams of places and adventures they wanted to go on. But sadly, they wouldn't be able to because of their illnesses." said William Geiner, Chief Creative Officer of 180LA.


Expedia and 180LA worked with St. Jude to find patients who had a big travel dream, and set to make that dream come to them with the help of 360 degree virtual reality (VR) cameras and a custom built projection room in the hospital. Expedia Senior Brand Marketing Manager Jessica Eichner said, "One of the great things about St. Jude's is that they're very conscious of how the handle their patients. They're very protective in a good way and helped us to find who would enjoy it, who was feeling well enough and whose families would be on board."

Armed with their patient's travel dreams and a VR camera, employees from Expedia set out to capture in essence what their patient's deepest travel dream was, then send it back to a six sided screen room in Memphis, giving patients an immersive, floor to ceiling travel experience. For patient Kiara, her travel dream was to see wild horses, so Sara, a brain cancer survivor and employee at Expedia, traveled to Argentina to make that happen, and THIS  is the result.



Because the travel experiences with the "Dream Adventures" are happening live and in real time, Kiara was able to talk with Sara, ask questions, even pointing out a horse she wanted to "see" closer. It was the first time 360 degree filming, projection mapping, and live streaming technology have been used together. During each experience, the patient was able to explore and direct the actions of the on site trekker. For Sara, bringing wild horses to Kiara, and whatever else she can do to make her life better, was "an honor" to do.

The "Dream Adventures" is not only a dream for Expedia, but as a long standing partner of St. Jude, it is part of their bigger initiative to bring awareness of the mission of the research hospital.
By offering their travel customers the opportunity to turn their vacation rewards into monetary donations to St. Jude, Expedia has made a commitment to leverage its global reach, while at the same time bringing hope to the families and patients at St. Jude.

It would also like to continue bringing the world to patients at St. Jude, and is committed to making it an experience for more children. Vic Walia, senior director of brand marketing for Expedia said, "We are in active discussion with St. Jude about building a permanent installation so that more kids can experience adventures."

For more videos of the "Dream Adventures" initiative, visit Expedia on Youtube


For more information on the Expedia/St. Jude partnership visit https://www.expedia.com/rewards/stjude

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