In 1998, my husband Pete was diagnosed with cancer.

And in 1999, he was gone. The short time between his diagnosis and death was precious. And what I learned in that year changed the course of my life forever.

When Pete battled cancer, he felt what cancer patients feel: emotional and physical exhaustion… fear… confusion… sadness… instability… uncertainty. And as his wife and caregiver, I felt broken, shaken and sometimes, alone. Pete was my high school and college sweetheart, we experienced so much of life together. Now, I was faced with a future without him.

We had an amazing opportunity to escape those feelings when family and friends sent us on vacation in the midst of Pete’s treatment.

During that trip, we rediscovered who we were before cancer entered the fray. We pretended for a moment that our lives were without challenges. We celebrated each day.

We had a chance to be Marci and Pete again – instead of Marci, Pete and cancer.

And most importantly, we built Pete’s spirit back and strengthened his resolve for what lay ahead. We crossed the finish line together – and realized that cancer couldn’t define us.

Upon returning from our trip renewed and rejuvenated, Pete wanted to ensure that patients just like him had this critical opportunity to regenerate their minds, bodies and spirits. I promised Pete to pursue his dream – and dedicated my life 100% to ensuring its realization.

Pete changed my life forever – before and after cancer took him from me. And now, Pete continues to change the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of adult cancer patients (and their own caregivers) by creating joy through the transformative powers of respite. Thanks for helping us change lives!

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