Breast cancer survivors and families get away, free of charge

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SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — This year, an estimated 281,550 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis can take over lives with treatments, medical bills, and uncertainty. That’s where Little Pink Houses comes in.

With the help of local communities, the group offers breast cancer survivors and their families a chance to get away, free of charge.

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Four families made new flippered friends Thursday, while touring the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehab Center. It was one of many stops this week.

“We’re from Little Rock, Arkansas,” said survivor, Miki Bass. “So we came quite a long ways and have never been to this area before. And it’s just been beautiful, the weather’s been perfect, and we’ve just had a fantastic time.”

They’ve enjoyed activities they might not ever have been able to do, thanks to generous donors and hard-working volunteers from Little Pink Houses.

“This is an opportunity for these ladies, and some gentlemen that we do have on retreats to feel cared for,” said volunteer, Daphne Slaughter. “To feel loved. And it’s a blessing for us as volunteers as well.”

The North Carolina based organization sends breast cancer survivors and their families on week-long vacations. They find them a place to stay, schedule activities, and help them forget for a little while.

“I have stage four metastatic cancer diagnosed,” Bass explained. “So this means a lot for me to be able to come and spend time with my family and spend time with other survivors with beat cancer.”

Survivor, Ashanti Marshall brought her two daughter and husband this week. Marshall said this is just what her family needed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, she and her family have to isolate themselves because of her treatments.

“So our treatments were alone,” Marshall remembered. “Our surgeries were alone. So having this chance to actually come back with our family and just feel normal again. And knowing that though you’ve had your family on the outside supporting you, they’ve been with you this whole time.”

Though the vacation and experiences themselves were fun, Marshall said the memories her family has now are priceless.

Seeing baby dolphins on a pontoon ride. Hunting for ghost crabs late into the night. Watching her eight-year-old daughter squeal as a sea turtle waves. These are the moments she’ll appreciate forever.

“Just appreciating every day just in general is what it’s all about. Because you have to live every day like you never know about tomorrow, and that’s with or without struggling with a disease such as breast cancer. But, I’m so thankful that I’m living.”

Thursday night, those breast cancer survivors and their families took family portraits on the beach, to remember their dream vacation forever.