PISMO BEACH, Calif. - An organization is treating breast cancer patients and their families to vacations around the country. For the second year in a row, Little Pink Houses of Hope is bringing families to the Central Coast.
Lynnette Rivera got treated to a week-long getaway in Lake Tahoe in 2015. Rivera was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.
“I am stage four metastatic breast cancer, which is terminal," the Lompoc resident said.
While the journey's been tough, Rivera says Little Pink Houses of Hope offered a new kind of medicine: the chance to take a break from it all.
“It probably was one of the best vacations we've ever had. It's just a way to not think about cancer and treatments and doctors. You can just relax with your families and have fun.”
With Rivera's help, the North Carolina-based nonprofit brought families from all over the nation to vacation on the Central Coast for the first time in 2018.
“We went out kayaking, we went on whale watching tours, we went to the aquarium, we had a beach day. We had a lot of fun last year," she said.
This October, Little Pink Houses of Hope is bringing seven breast cancer patients and their families to Pismo Beach and surrounding areas.
“It is a good way to take something that's really hard on families and to give them hope," said volunteer Paige Redel, who got involved this year after a relative was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Redel says nothing would be possible without help from local businesses donating meals, places to stay, tours, and even salon visits.
“People are very eager and very happy to give full donations," she said.
Coastal Vacation Rentals in Pismo Beach is one of the retreat's donors.
“I think it's hard to find someone whose life hasn't been touched in some way by cancer, you know, a family member, a grandmother, mom, aunt," said co-owner Kendrick Kelly. "I know personally it's touched my life, and it's just nice to be able to do something.”
“This gives me a little bit of life to deal with the cancer journey that I'm on," Rivera said.
Breast cancer patients interested in vacation opportunities can apply online, as well.