An Oldie, but a Goodie

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Oldie, but a Goodie

By:  FPS Traveler, Jan Campbell

August 2021

My mom once told me, “I like the feel of old clothes, blankets, sheets, towels…they are the most comfortable and feel the best.”

On a recent, warm, perfect beach day, I decided to pack a bag and head to the shore to sit in the sand and soak in some rays.  My hand reached for my worn out For Pete’s Sake beach towel that was mailed to my home, along with many other goodies, before our respite to Naples in 2012.  I seem to always take it with me when I go to the beach.  It provides an unusual comfort, sort of like a baby blanket/stuffed animal that you keep close.  It also reminds me of the beautiful trip we took, how little my boys were, how different my life was back then.  With that trip, came so many magical feelings.

Jan and Maria pose with the FPS Towel.

I walked to the beach to meet up with my friend Maria and her family. I set up my chair before heading to the water’s edge to play the little ones.  After some time passed, I went back to where the group was sitting.  Guess who was sitting next to my empty chair?  Marci, CEO/founder from For Pete’s Sake!  We have kept in touch through the years, and she happened to be on the same beach that same day.  I go into my bag and get out my towel and show her.  I said, “Look at this, and I had no idea I would be seeing you!”  She replied, “O my gosh, now that is an oldie, but a goodie!”  Two things immediately came to mind- Marci’s late husband Pete (who she started FPS in memory of) and my friend Maria’s late father Robert (a huge supporter/donor of FPS).  It truly was a sign…all the connections…talk about fate!

A simple, raggedy towel, but it meant so much more.  It was the special significance that here I am, still here, 10 years later…still able to sit on the beach, still able to be with friends, my boys, my family.  And, still able to talk about FPS.  I know that many FPS travelers have or will experience precious moments and memories with their loved ones, just as I did.  I also know that so many of these travelers will not be able to talk about them 10 years later, or even go to the beach with their thin, frayed, FPS logo towel.  Sadly, they may no longer be here on earth.  Or perhaps, like me, they have not been able to muster up the courage to dig deep in the sand and talk about all that has been buried…

It has been a long 10 years of heartache, hardships, and hurdles.  I blocked out a lot.  Other things still come to the surface every so often.  As I told Marci that day on the beach, this disease has a huge forever impact not only physically, but emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally.  While the outside world may think you are healing and recovering, you are being taken down in ways you never thought possible.  You are thrown curve balls in every direction and feel like you are constantly fighting, advocating, pushing, and screaming to be heard.  But… you keep going.  You keep going and helping as many people as you can.  You keep doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.  You must.  You must do it in memory of those who have passed, and the families that are left behind. You must do it for those who are in the everyday thick of it.  You must do it for those like me- who are eternally grateful to be sitting on the beach wrapped in an old beach towel.  Thank you to Marci and FPS for your mission, your dedication, and continuing to impact thousands of lives.

Whatever we lose, (like a you or a me)

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea

–          E.E. Cummings

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