FPS Featured in AARP

 In News

Thank you to AARP for their digital feature of FPS in February 2024 and the interview with Marci, our Founder & CEO, about the power of respite. Jim Wright Photography took this beautiful photo of Respite Recipients at Woodloch Resort in October 2023. See more of their feature here and read their article below:

In 1998, Marci Schankweiler was 29. She was a newlywed and a first-time homeowner with her husband, Pete. Then, Pete was diagnosed with cancer.

“We went from being at the pinnacle of life starting as a young adult … And then suddenly, we were getting cut down to our knees, with this disease that we had absolutely no control over,” Marci says. “It was so emotionally devastating.”

After Pete’s diagnosis, friends planned a fundraiser. Marci wanted to use the money for healthcare costs but Pete had other ideas.

“It was really his vision to take the funds that they gave us and go on respite,” says Marci, 55. “To take a break from what every day had become, and just focus on being present and being together in the moment.”

That respite was the impetus for For Pete’s Sake, a nonprofit Marci started after Pete passed away in 1999. For Pete’s Sake (@takeabreakfromcancer) helps people “take a break from cancer” with respite experiences.

There are two types of respite experiences: Families can travel to Woodloch resort where they enjoy activities like painting and chair yoga, and their meals are taken care of. Or there is Staycation for those who are too ill to travel. The nonprofit sends families a box of activities to do together, including some cash to pay for a few dinners. Both experiences aim to give families dealing with cancer what Marci and Pete were able to experience on their respite more than 25 years ago.

“When we actually went away, we had so much fun and we laughed so much,” Marci says. “We were silly, we didn’t hold anything back. It was amazing.”

While the respites may not treat cancer in the same way doctors do, the time is essential for healing in other ways.

“They come back with renewed hope in their future regardless of what the outcome is going to be,” Marci says. “They come back strengthened by their family love and united as a force, rather than feeling divided and disjointed and isolated. They come back collectively as a whole.”