Friday, June 4, 2010

Hotels for Hope - June 12, 2010

In only our second year, we have DOUBLED the size of our Relay for Life team. We had approximately 30 employees participate in 2009. This coming year we are expecting more than 60 team members. To say I'm proud of my hotels' employees would be a huge understatement!

Hotels for Hope was founded in the memory of Mary Gistis. Mary lost a courageous battle with cancer in March of 2009. Her passing led to discussions at each of my hotels. Sadly, many of my managers and staff also had personal stories of loved ones that had succumbed to this dreaded disease. While we will always honor Mary's memory first and foremost, our Relay for Life team has evolved into a memorial for all of our loved ones that have passed. We also take time to be recognize and be thankful for our cancer survivors. Our surviors give us hope and confidence that a cure will be found.

I lost my first friend to cancer after completing the eighth grade. Shannon fought for more than a year before losing her tragic battle. At the ripe old age of twelve years old, I already understood the devastation that cancer can bring to a family and a community. I'll never forget her uncle speaking at our eighth grade graduation and announcing that Shannon's cancer had progressed and that the outcome was not expected to be good. I promised to never forget Shannon and all these years later, I've held true to my word. She was an amazing person and will always be missed.

Cancer has gone on to take multiple loved ones from me over the past twenty-five years. Unfortunately, this past year my family lost a friend and relative. By far, losing my grandmother was the hardest. Her unexpected passing led me to get early cancer screenings. These screenings have on two out of three occasions led to the doctors telling me "you may have just dodged a bullet". While these screenings are "less than pleasant", I know that they are in my best interest and I will get them regularly.
On the bright side, advancements in cancer treatment appear to have saved my children's incredible grandmother this past year. She is an amazing woman that continues the battle. Improving cancer treatments and the possibility of finding a cure are what Relay for Life is all about. I'm convinced many of my friends and loved ones would still be here today with the new tests, medicines, and technology that are available. These advancements in medicine and eventually finding a cure are why my team participates in the Relay for Life.

Please do your part and make a donation today...

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