There are only a few projects which are very near my heart, and I choose delicately what journey I embrace professionaly and emotionally... The following is a re-blog/a share, better said of the interview and the purpose behind one incredible mission. More than a non-profit that provides week-long retreats for breast cancer patients and their families this busy and endearing cause has captured my heart, from the standpoint that all these indelible forces unite to provide love, comfort and a time to enjoy while being here on earth... NO other agendas... Simply giving LOVE.
The extraordinary group that manages and volunteers seeking the donations and participation to provide ONE incredible and memorable week to some amazing human beings who have been struck with Cancer, a little break during these trying times. This year we are having the tremendous honor to spend time with these families while we create some memories - It is how my heart will give to them... Via images, that will endure for times to come... Love through our lense for them! Following is their shared journey, please enjoy and if you can... Get involved.
------------------> ...I stood there, tears almost unknowingly streaming down my face, looking at our small group gathered in a semi-circle with the ocean water glistening as our backdrop. It was nearly impossible to comprehend that none of us knew each other just five days earlier. Yet there we stood, in the dimming sunlight, witnesses to the vow renewal of one couple celebrating 21 years of marriage. And in that moment, I’m certain, all of us forgot the common theme that brought us together that week. All that existed in that circle was love.
I could have begun this narrative by explaining the purpose of this amazing non-profit: to provide free weeklong retreats for breast cancer patients and their families. I could have told you we will host 12 retreats in 2015, including a retreat in Emerald Isle for the fourth straight year. I could have told you that paddle boarding is a staple activity during every retreat, an empowerment activity for our participants who doubt their physical ability to conquer anything right now. But, each and every lady stands up on that board. Her back gets straighter. Her smile gets broader. And she walks on water.
The reality is, none of those things REALLY define Little Pink Houses of Hope. We exist to love. We exist to be ridiculously present with one another. We exist to help families battling breast cancer live stronger, laugh harder, and love deeper.
I had the amazing privilege of leading a Little Pink Houses of Hope retreat last summer. I am thrilled to be joining the Emerald Isle community this year to lead our annual Little Pink Houses of Hope retreat (July 26-August 1). Everyone involved with Little Pink has a story. We have volunteers who support our North Carolina-based organization from all over the country. Some are breast cancer survivors. Others are past retreat participants. Some make phone calls. Others donate houses. Still others search out much-needed donations for each retreat. Nearly all of us have a “cancer story,” a bond we would give anything not to share.
I lost my mom to cancer three years ago. Metastasized breast cancer was what ultimately took her life, but the fighter faced off against cancer three times during her 59 years. Mom wasn’t one to get knocked down easily. I’ve decided this is the trait about my mom I most want to emulate.
While I would give anything to have my mom back, or eliminate the pain she went through, I am a different person because of the experience. I am different because nothing in life is guaranteed. I am different because I can’t ever get back the moments with Mom that I missed. I am different because I realize EVERYONE has a battle, cancer or otherwise, and we need people to walk with us, sometimes carry us. I am different because I lost one mom, but gained many mothers because of Little Pink Houses of Hope.
I hope you, the Emerald Isle community, realize you make THIS possible. We have been fortunate to benefit from so many local businesses, churches, and community members. Our families will enjoy delicious lunches and dinners courtesy of those at Emerald Isle Baptist Church, Chapel by the Sea, Bethlehem Methodist, Cape Carteret Baptist Church, and the Swansboro Chamber of Commerce. Local businesses such as Quiznos, Flipperz Family Bar & Grill, Jackie’s American Grill, HWY 55, Smithfield’s BBQ, White Oak Bistro, Ben & Jerry’s, Wal-Mart and Island Essentials help make this retreat a success. And, of course, let’s not forget all the fun to be had by our families touring the North Carolina Aquarium, boating in Swansboro, fishing off Bogue Inlet Pier, knocking down some pins at Mac Daddy’s, aiming for a hole in one at The Golfin’ Dolphin, and enjoying the ocean waves!
The time and treasures of the Emerald Isle community allow families to have a respite from cancer. You allow relationships to be renewed. You allow memories to be made. You allow love to be shared. Please take advantage of having Little Pink Houses of Hope in Emerald Isle. Explore a way you can support the experience. Keep an eye out for the Little Pink van and stop to say hello. Support the many businesses that donate meals and activities to our families. Thank you for making THIS a reality.
Cancer might be the thing that brought us together. But it is not the thing that keeps us together.
To learn more about Little Pink Houses of Hope or offer support for the upcoming retreat, please contact Retreat Director, Erica Madden (firstname.lastname@example.org; 704-572-1296) or Retreat Coordinator, Dawn Walker (email@example.com; 336-260-1309).
Image Courtesy of Tracy Verdugo
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