BURLINGTON, N.C. -- "I just had my 6-year cancer-versary," said Jeanine Patten-Coble, with a big smile.
Wow, have things changed in those six years. The Burlington mom no longer has cancer, she's Self magazine's "Woman of the Year" and she has changed the lives of hundreds of other people impacted by breast cancer.
"It has dramatically changed my life in ways I can't even wrap my brain around right now," said Patten-Coble.
Patten-Coble created "Little Pink Houses of Hope," a local turned national nonprofit that sends cancer patients and their families on week-long beach vacations, free of charge. The idea is to give the families just a little space, a little downtime, a little vacation from all of their health and financial stresses.
There are usually 12 retreats a year, with multiple families at each retreat. "There's 10 families, 10 different houses, typically a group of between 40 and 60 people. And then there's all the volunteers. We take care of everything, so the families can just enjoy their time together. Our motto for our volunteers is to be ridiculously present for those families."
Patten-Coble says the idea for Little Pink came to her while on a run at the beach just after her own cancer diagnosis, as she struggled to find a way to break the news to her then 12-year-old son.
"To this day, God was speaking to me so strongly, so much. I feel so lucky and so blessed that he showed up on all the absolute hardest day of my life and that he showed up in such a big and powerful way."
The beach retreats are made possible by generous homeowners. If you'd like more information or to volunteer, visit littlepink.org.
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