About Us | Who We Are
About For Pete’s Sake
Who Was Pete?
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 respite in the midst of Pete’s treatment.
During that respite, 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 respite 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!
Pete enjoying sailing, one of his favorite hobbies in Sea Isle City, NJ
Pete and Marci on respite in Nevis prior to his passing
FPS Founder and CEO
Meet Marci, our Founder & CEO
Marci Schankweiler is Founder & CEO of For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation (FPS). FPS was founded after Marci lost her husband, Pete, to testicular cancer at the age of 30. Marci used this devastating moment to pause, pivot and change the direction of her life. As a tax attorney and litigator, she used her unique business skills, coupled with her emotional insight as a caregiver, to launch a non-profit inspired by Pete.
For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation enables cancer patients and their loved ones to strengthen, deepen and unify their relationships by creating unforgettable and lasting respite experiences. Working with oncology professionals at over 100 hospitals and cancer centers, FPS provides transformative respite experiences to cancer patients (ages 21-55), their caregivers and their children and offers our families emotional support that assists them as their journey with cancer continues. Our respite program helps families recognize it is love, not cancer, that defines them.
Pete’s Dream in Action
Our Cancer Respite Program includes two forms, the Travel Respite and the Staycation Respite. Both experiences are transformative and address the emotional, psychosocial, financial, physical and spiritual traumas that families confront with a cancer diagnosis. Our Cancer Respite Program complements traditional treatment and the respite experience plays a crucial role in the patient continuum of care.
FPS works with oncology professionals at leading cancer centers to create these care-free, cost-free respite experiences for an underserved patient population. Patients (ages 21-55 and nominated by a member of their oncology team), caregivers and their children receive a Travel Respite Experience, or if they are unable to travel due to advanced stage cancer, they receive a Staycation Respite Experience in their own home. Both forms of respite will forever change lives.
For families in the FPS program, we offer Respite Reinforced programs that provide ongoing support beyond the respite that assists them as their journey with cancer continues. This support continues to address our seven health pillars through in-person events, online education, and access to additional resources, including bereavement care.
We have served thousands of people and our work has been recognized by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Fox News, People Magazine, Major League Baseball, Chick-fil-A, Comcast Newsmakers, University of PA Health System and LIVESTRONG.
Join us as we help hundreds of people take a break from cancer each year!