Group tries to give cancer sufferers a break

September 22, 2010 4:21:38 PM PDT
How does this sound? A week at the beach, all expenses paid! Now, imagine how that sounds to families coping with cancer.

Jeanine Patten-Coble of Alamance County knows exactly what it’s like.

Doctors diagnosed her with an aggressive form of breast cancer last June - the day before she and her family were supposed to go on a beach trip. Doctors told them to go anyway - before Jeanine started serious treatment.

That trip turned out to be life changing. Not only did she and her husband break the news to their young son, but Jeanine came up with a unique plan. While running on the beach passed some abandoned houses, Jeanine was struck with the desire to help other families like hers heal.

"The beach, for my family has always been a place to go to heal and reconnect," Jeanine said. "When you wake up at the beach, all is right with the world."

As of May, that idea became official in Little Pink Houses of Hope.

"Our goal is to provide 50 families this year with beach retreats," Jeanine explained. "Everything is taken care of: housing, three meals a day, programs for children, parents - offering up that space where they can reconnect - just enjoy life not in the cancer universe for a week."

It's not a cheap proposition. The foundation's annual budget is $300,000. You, however, can help them get a major kick start. Little Pink Houses of Hope is now part of the Pepsi Project, an online voting campaign. You can vote up to three times a day through September, maybe longer, and help Little Pink Houses of Hope win $50,000.

Jeanine is about to endure her last round of chemotherapy on Friday. After more than 12 months of grueling treatment, we were surprised to hear her describe the past year as amazing.

"Yeah, really," Jeanine said smiling. "It’s one of those things that you hear people talk about cancer, and you hear them say 'Oh, cancer’s a blessing.' And I never, ever really understood that. And I completely do now. Because the past year has been about me really becoming the person I am supposed to be."

Jeanine says that person is someone who has her life in the proper perspective and helps others. It's a truly remarkable statement, but then again, so is Jeanine.

For more information and to vote go to littlepinkhousesofhope.org.

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