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Updated: Nov 19, 2022

This time last year I was on a Little Pink Houses of Hope (LPHOH) retreat in Myrtle Beach. It was an amazing week, check out this blog to learn more. I loved it so much that I wanted to volunteer and give back. I wanted to be apart of this amazing team and bless other families like I was blessed.

I was able to be a volunSTAR in Grand Haven, Michigan at the first LPHOH retreat in the midwest. My experience did not disappoint.

Everything that happens is very intentional. The goal is to just love on the families. Sometimes that looks like bringing them meals to their home so they can stay in and watch a football game. Other times it means carrying balloons in your pocket to give to the boys just to see their faces light up. It is being truly present and anticipating their needs.

Being on the flipside is a bit like being at camp. Shared housing. Mixing personalities. As I am still living with and dealing physically and mentally with stage four cancer I did now want that to affect my ability to be a great volunSTAR. Making the experience about the families and not myself. I did not want to scare anyone with early stage cancer with my stage 4 diagnosis. But if someone had stage 4 breast cancer. I wanted to show them that life goes on. You can still dream and do big things.

I am blessed that I was well enough to be a volunSTAR. I am so happy that I got to meet a new group of women living with cancer that I could rally behind and support them on their journey. I hope the women I met walked away from the week feeling happy and rejuvenate. I hope they lived, laughed and loved well with their family. That was the goal. To be so ridiculously present for these families, they could just love on each other.

The week was so full of amazing moments. It is hard to capture them all in words. I fell into bed every night exhausted but so joyful. Some of my favorite moments included: moms telling me that they never thought they could kayak. Seeing them return with huge smiles and arms raised in victory. Hearing them talk about how peaceful the water was and planning to do it again. It was wonderful to see how much the families fed their soul by a simple act of kayaking. There were beautiful moment of mom's smiling and laughing with their children riding bikes and flying kites. Dads meeting other dads, talking shop and racing go-carts. It was awesome watching these families finding their tribe and hanging out with people that just got it. They understand what life is like living with breast cancer.

Two of my best moments were; first, meeting Jeanine, the founder. What a fan girl moment! She has such positive energy and I loved just being in her presence and seeing her connect with the families. 

The second best moments was when the family that I was assign to, the mother, giving me a beautiful letter. This was validation that missing my family and pushing my body to the limit was all worth it. She got it. She GOT what Little Pink Houses of Hope is ALL about. This vacation was right where she needed to be and I was able to be a part of that. It fills my heart and soul with joy.

There are not enough words to describe the beauty and wonder of the experience of LPHOH. If you get a chance volunteer, or donate money or if you are a breast cancer patient apply to be a part of a retreat. Anyway that you can, being a part of this organization is SO GOOD for the soul. Check out the website. Little Pink

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