Can I share some amazing news with you? May I just reaffirm the message that good things happen if we never give up hope? It’s true. No matter how defeated we may feel at times, just around the corner lives hope. And where there is hope, there is most certainly joy (and her close cousin, FUN)!
In November, a neighbor and friend invited a small group of women over for lunch. While I was delighted to share “girl talk” and great company (especially after I had been fairly housebound after surgery), she further surprised me with the news she had nominated me for a vacation through the Karen Wellington Foundation (KWF). She explained that Karen Wellington, a mother of two, had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 30 and lived for ten years while showing those around her how to enjoy every minute. She was fun and determined to LIVE each day fully with enthusiasm, adventure, and laughter. I wish I had the opportunity to meet this amazing woman who continues to impact many lives with her legacy. She sounds like someone who would have been game to lip synch nonsense Dubsmash videos with me and dance with reckless abandon (the very best way, no doubt)!
KWF was founded by Karen’s husband to honor her dream of sending one family on a vacation each year. Yet it grew to be much bigger than that with now 10 chapters across the US and they have sent over 400 women (and families) living with breast cancer to special nights out, concerts, spa days, and vacation getaways. Their mission is to “put fun on the calendar”.
To my surprise, I found out they chose me to be a recipient AND they were sending my family on a vacation! I couldn’t even believe my ears! I was placed on a wait list as they searched for a donor with a vacation property. In March, I received the wonderful news that they would be sending us to Bonita Springs, Florida for a dreamy beach vacation in July! A generous family donated their luxury condo for the week so we could kick up our feet in the ocean and enjoy sand, salt air, and sunshine! In addition to the condo, KWF pays for our airline tickets and rental car so we may explore all the amazing sites. As if all of this wasn’t lavish enough, they gave us fun money to spend on “fun only” activities! We are beyond giddy about the week ahead! I keep expecting to wake up and find out I’ve been dreaming. But no, this is all real and we are beyond blessed and thankful.
Since becoming a recipient, I have learned so much more about this incredible organization. They partner with generous people with lake houses, cabins, time shares, vacation home rentals, concert tickets, airline miles, sporting event tickets and so forth who give, give, give. Complete strangers who have something they can donate completely transform the lives of women and families who are living through difficult circumstances. It’s so beautiful that I cannot talk about this without getting emotional.
Here’s a wonderful video that demonstrates the beauty of generosity as told by Karen’s husband:
For nearly a year (and four years before that!), our family life has revolved around oncology appointments, scans, surgeries, tests, recoveries, and all things cancer. Even when I don’t feel like thinking about it, it’s there. So to receive this getaway, which feels wholly undeserved but so very appreciated, is fortifying for the spirit. Fun has been a little more elusive to find but I can tell you, we crave it. My silly boys, who have always played along with their silly mom’s video ideas and crazy dancing, deserve this gift to be kids again (and not kids who are worried about their momma). My very supportive husband who has been my rock deserves this gift of relaxation and fun. The opportunity to laugh with wild abandon with the people I love the most is just everything and the very best medicine for our souls.
Thank you to my neighbor and friend (and her accomplices) for thinking of me and taking the time to nominate me. Truly, it was so selfless and beautiful. She asked that I keep her name anonymous but I just have to share how deeply touched I am. Words are so inefficient at describing the magnitude of our exploding hearts of gratitude. I’m reminded of a quote that so perfectly describes this entire experience and speaks to the greatness and power of generosity:
“Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself!” ~Marcus Aurelius
Thank you to all the great souls (the foundation, the donors, the nominators, and the staff who have arranged all the details) for blessing us so richly and empowering us to have FUN NOW!
Karen, the angel who started all of this, is my hero. I pray I honor her spirit in LIVING with breast cancer.