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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

For Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Cancer Research, Health, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: For Pete's Sake enables cancer patients and their loved ones the opportunity to strengthen, deepen and unify their relationships by creating unforgettable and lasting respite vacations.

Results: Over 4,800 individuals have been served by FPS. A full patient demographic matrix can be found at www.takeabreakfromcancer.org

Target demographics: adults and their loved ones take a break from cancer.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 348 people

Geographic areas served: Pennsylvania

Programs: respite vacations to adult cancer patients (24-50), their caregiver and their children (if applicable). All patients most be nominated by a member of their oncology team, and complete pre-respite and post-respite evaluations. Our respites take place in the two FPS owned homes near Orlando, Florida and in donated homes and resorts along the East Coast and in the Caribbean.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Mandy Bocci P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned about FPS shortly after my husband was diagnosed with Dtage 4 Pancreatic Cancer and they sent us on a wild memory making adventure with our kids to Florida, Disney, sea world and universal. At the time we had no idea what this Cancer would do to us, as a couple and as a family. But it can't take away everything we had in that week.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

For Pete's Sake sent my parents on a much needed vacation when my mom was battling cancer. Not only that, but through their outreach, events and connection, they provided our family with much needed support through the difficult journey.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband was diagnosed with throat cancer six years ago. For Pete's Sake gave our family a wonderful respite vacation. We didn't know we needed it until we went. They truly make you "take a break from cancer" and reconnect and value your special relationships. The For Pete's Sake staff is top notch and truly cares.

Client Served

Rating: 5

For Pete's Sake gave my family the most wonderful gift we could have receive...other than a cure for cancer...they gave us smiles, memories and love during the toughest point in our lives. Our vacation away from cancer allowed us to break the brutal daily routine of drs visits, plain, worry and sadness. We loved and laughed as a family & I treasure every one of those memories and photos. Thank God for FPS and all their amazing volunteers!!!

Pamela88

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I saw first-hand how caring the people who work at FPS truly are. They are respectful, compassionate, and kind. They are also organized and careful with the funds they have with no waste of resources. We have now moved from the area but continue to support their work because we believe in what they do and how they do it.

Charlene L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5


My sister was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in Oct. 2012, by then, it had already spread into her liver and lungs. Her name was given to For Petes Sake by one of her nurses. Her and her husband were sent on an all expenses paid trip to Florida in March of 2013. She had a wonderful break from cancer! That was when she decided to support FPS by walking in the next event at Citizens Bank Park, unfortunately, she didn't live long enough fulfill her plan. But, her whole family and lots of friends (over 50 people) walked in her honor as Team Georgiann! And we will ve there

Jennifer418

Client Served

Rating: 5

A month shy of his 40th birthday and two months shy of being cancer free for 20 years, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung and Throat cancer. We never saw this diagnosis coming! We knew what the diagnosis meant, as we experienced all the elements of having cancer and the devastating effects nearly 20 years earlier; the only difference now is our children and the constant attention they need. Upon diagnosis, our 3 boys were 10, 7, and 4. I knew I was in for a long, stressful ride!

My husband was treated in Philly. This was an added burden on us because we live 2 hours North of the city. He had to drive there every week for doctors appointments and chemo. After 5 months of chemo, he was ready to add radiation. Because this was administered 5 days a week, he had to live in Philly for 3 months. We only saw him on weekends.

It was while waiting one day for Teds treatment to be over that a social worker told me about For Pete's Sake. After 7 months of Ted receiving treatment, being without him, having him almost lose his life due to a serious infection, working full time, taking care of 3 young boys by myself, cleaning the house, shopping for food, making the food, driving back and forth to sports by myself, worrying about paying our bills, Etc, that I welcomed the opportunity of just "get away from it all". No running to Philly to the doctors, no hospitals, no work, no schedules!
I cannot say enough about the opportunity that this organization provided or our family to be together without thinking about cancer for 8 whole days, worry free! They covered everything for us to travel to Disney World after enduring a long, hard year of many disappointments and time away from Ted! We got to be family for the week. Together, happy, re-energized! This organization even continued to help our family through giving at Christmas and sending us to Hershey Park this past summer to be together again as a family!
We LOVE "For Pete's Sake" and we are so blessed to have Marcy and her staff in our lives!

Jacquie7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For Pete's Sake is a one of a kind group. Friendly, out-going, compassionate, and generous are just a few words that come to mind when I think about FPS.

My daughter went to work on Friday and came home feeling ill. She thought she was coming down with a cold. Saturday, she was not feeling well, and Sunday morning her breast was swollen and hot. A trip to the emergency room started the roller coaster of unbelievable events. A surgeon came in to examine her and ordered a mammogram. Within hours, she was scheduled for a biopsy on Monday morning. Monday came and the biopsy revealed that she had Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The journey had begun. Doctor appointment, tests, chemo treatments, surgery, radiation treatments. For over a year and a half, she went from one place to another, all related to the treatment of cancer. She could not work because the doctor did not want her to get sick. An organization called For Pete's Sake contacted my daughter and asked if she wanted to get away. Yes, Yes, was her answer but she could not afford to get away. For Pete's Sake came to the rescue.

A week away from the hassle of dealing with cancer could not have come at a better time. A home (not a house) with all the comforts of her home, airfare, tickets to Disney and Universal, money for food, gas for a car. Traveling care packages for the kids. FPS thought of everything. At last, a time to relax and to make memories for the whole family.

We participate in the FPS walk at Citizen's Park each year. When people asked who we want to make donations FPS is at the top of our list.

Thank you Marci and friends. May your good works continue and may many people be as fortunate as my daughter and her family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with For Pete’s Sake, I see first hand the wonderful things they do for patients suffering with cancer. It makes such a difference in the lives of not only the patient, but their families and caretakers as well. Proof of this is in the many grateful letters, testimonials and pictures hanging throughout their offices and posted on their facebook page. I have also had the pleasure of hearing many speeches given by some of the grateful recipients of FPS’s generosity and well as the passionate and motivational speeches given by Marci, founder of FPS, who believes so strongly in their mission. What a wonderful and deserving organization, filled with wonderful employees, volunteers and friends at every level, from young school children to large corporations.

Jennifer417

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband at age 26 was diagnosed with hodkins lymphoma. At the time we had a one year old and a new born I was actually still on maternity leave when he was diagnosed. Our lives went from totally normal to total cauios in an instant. He endured 6 long months of chemo, 16 treatments. Then had a month break prior to a month of daily radiation treatments. During that month off For Petes Sake sent us on a respite to florida. I cannot begin to tell you how much that trip meant to us and what it did for us as a family. We were a normal family again for an entire week. We didn't have to hear the dreaded "c" word for a whole week. It gave us the emotional and physical reset we needed. We are eternally grateful and thankful for what they have done for us as family. We donate monthly to them so they can continue to send people on respites. I am a nurse and I refer people to them whenever I can. Thank you for all you do!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Two days before Christmas, 2006, my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was a young mother of 3 kids (aged 5, 7,and 8). For 10 months she and her family struggled with hospital stays, doctor visits, and treatments. Every day was fraught with worry and preoccupation with her illness. The children were frightened to think about life without her. Then came this wonderful group of people who recognized how much this family needed to be rescued from the intense focus on their mom's illness. For Pete's Sake sent them to Disney World for the most blessed time of respite away from the daily reminders of life threatening illness. While my daughter passed away 18 months later, the children experienced the gift of happy moments with their mother and father when they needed it most. Memories of that time together remain with them forever.

Review from Guidestar

Jennifer403

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband has stage iv sarcoma and it has been a really rough six months for our family. For Pete's Sake sent us to their beautiful home in Florida and gave our family the best week together. There are not enough thank you's we can give, the generosity of this foundation is outstanding. We are forever grateful.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The following is a blog post I wrote in honor of a wonderful organization, For Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation.

I got a text from my Cousin Megan this past weekend- “BAB-You are six years cancer free Sunday! Wahooooo!!! ” I nearly fell off my chair. One, I was so touched that she actually recorded the date of my milestone (I hadn’t even done that) and two, I can’t believe it’s been that long. Yes, I am one of the lucky people that can say ” I am a survivor”. At 38 years old I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my Colon (OK, if you really must know it was in my rectum… yes, my tush, hiney, a-s-s. And a pain in the a-s-s it was!) I underwent chemotherapy, radiation, three surgeries including a bowel resection and a temporary colostomy bag. I haven’t thought or talked about it in a while, but since Megan brought it to my attention, here I sit, traveling back in time. You probably think I am going to tell tales of woe, but I’m not. For me, Cancer was life-changing, but believe it or not, for the better! I looked at it like it was an adventure (sounds silly, I know, but that’s where I put it in my brain to force out the negativity and bring on the battle) I compared it to an adventure such as rock climbing or reaching the summit…succeeding at something that I never tried before. That was my defense mechanism…and it worked! The most important thing I brought away from my experience with the “big C” was the realization that there really is only one thing that matters in this life–and that is the people in it and the love that they share… So the amazing people who helped me along my journey were of course, my wonderful and loving family, my neighbors and friends who sat with me during my chemo treatments, cooked, cleaned and babysat and an organization called For Pete’s Sake (formerly Crossing the Finish Line) who sent my family on an all expense paid trip to Disney World so we could “Take a Break from Cancer”. This was by far the best gift I have ever received in my lifetime and I will always be indebted to this wonderful organization. For Pete’s Sake founder, Marci Schankweiler asked me to speak at an event upon our return from our respite. Of course, I did! It was the least I could do! Here is my speech from 2008.

“My name is Bethanne Brown and according to my last Cat-Scan I am cancer free! I suffered from Colon Cancer and I had, as I tell people, a year literally plucked from my life while I tried to beat the dreaded dragon (which I did!!) I have three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 8 and a wonderful husband, Steve, who was my rock during my journey/illness. I was lucky enough to be one of “the chosen ones” and I became what they call a For Pete’s Sake “sailor” when some friends and my doctors nominated me for a respite experience with my family.

The wonderful thing about the people from For Pete’s Sake is their ability to realize that cancer is not only trying for the patient, it does quite a number on the family! The family members of FPS sailors often benefit from these vacations more than the patients! I know that’s the truth in my case. While I was undergoing chemo, radiation, and surgery, my husband had to wear all the hats. He not only had to hold down his full time job, he also became “Mr. Mom”. My girls went without Mom’s touch for a while. I heard one funny story when I returned from one of my surgeries. –Two of my girlfriends were at the pre-school water fountain using the water to smooth down my youngest daughter’s “bed-head” that my husband missed in the craziness of getting three girls out the door for school in the morning. My friends and I had a good time teasing Steve about this one! My worst memory from the whole experience, which I don’t think I’ve ever shared with Steve is–I remember my heart breaking when my daughter came in the bedroom after having a nightmare and instead of going to my side of the bed, which she always did, she went to Daddy’s side. I was devastated! But I fought the good fight and eventually worked my way back to “mommyhood”.

In the middle of our turmoil I got a call from Marci’s mom, Mariann, telling me that my family had been chosen to enjoy a vacation or what they call at For Pete’s Sake, a “respite experience” to take a break from cancer. I had to decline the first time because it was too close to my surgery recoup, but they were able to reschedule and sent us to their house in Davenport, Florida, which is just minutes from Disney World. We had the time of our lives! We didn’t leave a stone unturned and enjoyed every minute!


It’s difficult for me to put into words what this meant to our family… We had just been through a year of doctors, needles, sleeping Mommy, missing Mommy, tired Daddy, worried Mommy… This trip gave us a chance to forget about the cancer and just enjoy each other. It was, for us, a celebration because I had completed all of my surgeries and treatments and was set free to go get stronger and better, which I am proud to say, I did!

While we were there, we took time to read the journal that is in the house where sailors can write about their trip and their fight with cancer. There was something really moving about that book…the fact that all of the sailors had these two things in common; something so awful, which would of course be this dreaded disease , and something so wonderful–this free time with the people they love most in the world! The hardest part for Steve and I, which we contemplated while we were there, was the knowledge that some of these people were spending their last vacations ever with their family and these are some of their last memories they will share. We realized then and there-1. How lucky we were to have a second chance at life and 2. How wonderful and important For Pete’s Sake is for people dealing with this sometimes fatal disease. FPS gets it…There is nothing more important than LOVE, TOGETHERNESS, and FAMILY. FPS is able to give that gift to people again and again and there is no gift greater. Today, Steve and I would like to personally thank Marci and For Pete’s Sake . You should be so proud of yourselves for what you have done for so many families.

I would like to dedicate this blog post to a friend I made during my cancer journey, Joanna Little. Joanna and I had parallel lives for a while. We both had the same diagnosis, the same treatment and we were both lucky enough to be For Pete’s Sake Sailors! It was nice to have someone to know exactly what I was going through and share our stories and complaints with one another. Unfortunately, Joanna lost her battle with Cancer last year and I think about her often… I think about her when I am frustrated with my life, my kids, the crazy schedule… I think about how she would probably give anything to be with her kids, frustrated or not! I often feel guilty because I was given another chance and she was not….why?… My promise to her is to try to live the very best life I can and remember what is important… Forget all the other stuff! It’s all about the L-O-V-E!

Review from Guidestar

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

CFL helped our family in a way that we couldn't imagine! It provided an escape for us all when we needed it most. We were able to enjoy eachother's company, relax and create memories with Mom that we would not otherwise have. Thank you, CFL for being such a blessing to us! :)

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not only does CFL do wonderful work for its "Sailors", the staff ENJOYS what they do and goes out of their way for every constituent! This is a top notch organization that takes its mission to heart!

Review from Guidestar

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has done wonders for renewing the spirit and fight of its sailors. This is evident in the testimony of the sailors at the Gala. Each year that I help with the Gala, I am in awe of the number of people who attend and give of themselves so generously.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with fundraising and friendraising for Crossing the Finish Line for 11 years, or since inception. CFL has been an amazing support for friends and family of loved ones with cancer. By hosting fundraisers it allows the community to "do something" for those adult cancer patients and their families as they face an uncertain future and diagnosis. Many of the organizations that donate to the auction portion of our fundraiser comment on the uniquness of the organization. While there are many cancer organizations that fundraise for research for a cure for cancer... CFL is able to assist those with cancer NOW who might not benefit from the research.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over the years, I read a lot about Crossing the Finish Line in local media and heard about Pete Bossow and Marci Bossow Schankweiler through mutual friends/neighbors. I was instantly touched by the story and the mission. After experiencing the death of a parent at a young age, I knew personally of the unfair circumstances that the patients and their families find themselves facing. I understood the potential for missed weddings, missed birthdays, missed births -- and had tremendous appreciation for the related power of living in the moment as a family free from cancer worry (if only for a week!) I became more involved in CFL to help families through what was one of the darkest moments in my life and to provide them some semblance of normalcy in a not-so-normal time. I got involved to provide that healing family time that so many patients and caregiving families miss whether for financial, emotional or medical barriers. Every day, CFL brings me sadness and joy. Sadness to see how many young adults are being diagnosed. WHY? WHY? WHY? And joy to know that we're giving them a break from this beast called cancer for a moment in time.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been part of this volunteer group since is was initiated in 2004. We do all kinds of clerical jobs and phone calls to patients, volunteers and donors. Many of these tasks are time consuming and do not use the office staff to its best advantage. It is helpful, fiscally wise and rewarding to be able to assist in what ever way we can. Our core group has been the same group of dedicated volunteers for six years and our numbers are growing. I feel we are helping by using the office space when it would normally not be in use, by calling people who can not normally be reached during the day and by doing last minute jobs and menial jobs that would otherwise use office personel. Most of our group has been touched by cancer in some way and we want/need to help. Since we work during the day the evening volunteer session is perfect.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a sailor I travelled with my husband to a generously donated time share in Cocoa Beach Florida. We spent a glorious week facing the reality of cancer and our future together. This organization, Crossing the Finish Line, truly meets the needs of young cancer patients and their families, in a way that no medical treatment can. It's obvious in many ways what they provide, a trip/vacation, yet the true beauty and benefits are not obvious, as it comes from the heart, mind and soul.