Impact of Respite
Every FPS Family has a unique story on the challenging journey of cancer and its profound effect on their lives. Below are a few poignant accounts of FPS Respite Recipients, detailing their cancer battle and the transformative power of their Respite Experience.
Connie, age 47, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2022. Her oncology team at Penn Medicine Valley Forge saw that she has maintained a positive attitude despite her rigorous treatments taking a toll on her and her family. They knew Connie and her family needed a break from cancer and nominated her for an FPS Travel Respite.
In August 2023, Connie, and her family experienced FPS Respite in Jefferson, ME. She shares that they arrived “to a space of hope, fun and acceptance.” Her gratitude for the impactful experience is shared below. Your support helps us continue to give the gift of respite each month to families like Connie’s.
“Before coming here, I was feeling run down and in fear of my long-term outcome. Now, I know that I am capable and can tackle the future. My husband looks happier. My son is looking at me in the same way he did before cancer. He looks at me like I am the strongest mom ever. I feel like I am more than my cancer.” – Connie
Laura is 48 years old with breast cancer. Her 24 year old daughter is her caregiver and so many of their days have been consumed by cancer treatment and worries. Laura’s oncology team at Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute knew that Laura and her children would benefit from some rest and relaxation, as well as some connection with other families facing cancer! Laura and her two children were thrilled to take a break from cancer on an FPS Travel Respite at Woodloch Resort.
“This respite was much-needed! I was able to relax and spend time with my children. I was also able to meet some really great people who will be a support to me, and already feel like friends. The respite gave me a break from thinking about my problems and it was nice for my daughter to be with other caregivers who could relate. I feel more positive about my situation now and it was really helpful to see how others are coping with their cancer. We experienced so many activites and events that we really did get a break from cancer! Thank you!” – Laura
Dorcy is 41 years old and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Over the past three years she has undergone three surgeries for her cancer, along with needing to care for multiple other health conditions that have prevented her from working. Dorcy feels as though it has been one thing after another without a break.
Her oncology team at Wellspan Health and Cancer Care Associates wanted to give her family a respite to take a break from the hardships and sickness. Getting the chance to create memories with her daughter was all Dorcy could hope for. On respite at Woodloch in September, Dorcy’s family was able to bond with other people going through a similar situation which gave them a better understanding of how to cope with cancer.
“This respite was a beautiful break from everyday life dealing with my hardships. My family met so many wonderful people to talk to about my situation and it helped me remember that I’m not alone.” – Dorcy
Awilda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. As a single parent of two children, she experienced struggles from treatment and financial worries. She recently completed treatment and her oncology team at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care wanted to give her a chance to finally “exhale” with her kids.
Awilda told us, “We need this respite to erase the memories of cancer treatment. We need a reset and a chance to make up for lost time.”
Awilda and her children traveled to Woodloch Resort in December, where they made new memories filled with fun and connected with other FPS families.
Upon return from respite, Awilda shared with us,
“I am so grateful for this respite. It’s helped me to relax and calm my mind. It was important for my family [to take this break from cancer] because they have been through the entire process with me, and they were scared I wasn’t going to make it. I also met other people going through the same thing as me and made new friendships. Thank you!”
Diagnosed with leukemia in 2021, cancer took a toll on Katie’s life that was bigger than she could have imagined. Katie experienced significant health problems related to her cancer including seizures and fluid around her heart. She’s experienced so much pain – socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Katie’s oncology team at Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center nominated her for an FPS Respite Experience so she’d have something to look forward to during a long treatment journey. In February, Katie and her husband, Nick, embarked on a Travel Respite at Woodloch with other FPS families. For this, they are forever grateful! Upon return from respite, Katie shared with us,
“Even though I am the one with the cancer diagnosis, Nick has endured every step of this journey with me over the past 14 months. At times, I find it hard to remember a life worth fighting for when our every thought is about upcoming appointments, lab results, or next steps in treatment. It feels impossible to make plans to enjoy life when there are no guarantees with cancer.
Through this respite opportunity we were able to reconnect and enjoy ourselves in ways that we knew we wanted but did not realize we needed. We were able to create incredible memories and friendships with other families also enduring cancer and the tribulations that follow.”
Yan is 42 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2021. It’s been difficult for her to work and her husband has had to work more hours, leaving less time for family bonding and support. Yan’s oncology team at Fox Chase Cancer Center knew some precious time away would be beneficial for the entire family! In June, Yan, her husband and their children traveled to Woodloch Resort for an FPS Travel Respite. Here’s what they shared upon their return,
“This respite was great for all of us. It brought us closer as a family and we relaxed the entire time. It was amazing for my mom to heal. We have never been to the Poconos before so this respite held a lot of “firsts” for us. Thank you for giving us this experience!” – Stephanie, Yan’s daughter.
“This respite taught me to enjoy things as they come. We never had a set schedule and we enjoyed every minute. This respite also showed me how beautiful nature is, and that taking things slow relieves a lot of stress! We had fun, laughed, relaxed and forgot about my cancer!” – Yan
Brian, 42, is a high school teacher and was diagnosed with cancer in early 2022. Brian shared that his task was straight forward- to rest, to try to eat, and to endure. Brian says that his husband, Marc, has a much more uneasy task as caregiver. Even during struggling times Marc continued to push forward, and Brian says that Marc is the reason he continues to make progress. For this reason, Brian wanted to surprise Marc by “getting back to something we have missed- making memories together.”
His oncology team at Cape Regional Medical Center Radiation wanted to give Brian and his husband a break from cancer once Brian completed radiation therapy in September. They knew that Brian and Marc love to travel, which they haven’t been able to do since Brian began treatment. Because of our FPS community, the couple were given the opportunity to travel to Woodloch Resort in October!
“We were treated like family! This respite was a positive boost to our mental well-being, and I gained more perspective on why my husband, and I are fighting this.” – Brian