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Night Out With Meaning: Respite

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Storyteller: Marci Kuttler Bossow Schankweiler

In 1998, Marci’s husband Pete was diagnosed with cancer. And in 1999 he was gone. The short time between his diagnosis and death was precious to her and her family. What Marci learned that year changed the course of her life forever.

The fifth Night Out With Meaning was held on February 12, 2012 and featured Marci Bossow Schankweiler. Marci is the charismatic and smart leader of For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation. Marci shared her and her late husband, Pete’s story of fighting cancer. She talked about Pete’s diagnosis and she talked about how friends got together to send them away for 2 weeks to “take a break from cancer.” Marci talked about how important it was for them as a couple to spend time together just being Marci and Pete.

In Marci’s words…

When Pete battled cancer, he felt what cancer patients feel: emotional and physical exhaustion… fear… confusion… sadness… instability… uncertainty. And as his wife and caregiver, I felt broken, shaken and sometimes, alone.

We had an amazing opportunity to escape those feelings when family and friends sent us on vacation in the midst of Pete’s treatment. During that trip, we rediscovered who we were before cancer entered the fray. We pretended for a moment that our lives were without challenges. We celebrated each day.

We had a chance to be Marci and Pete again – instead of Marci, Pete and cancer.

And most importantly, we built Pete’s spirit back and strengthened his resolve for what lay ahead. We crossed the finish line together – and realized that cancer couldn’t define us.

Upon returning from our trip renewed and rejuvenated, Pete wanted to ensure that patients just like him had this critical opportunity to regenerate their minds, bodies and spirits. I promised Pete to pursue his dream – and dedicated my life 100% to ensuring its realization.

For Pete’s Sake gives many things to the adult cancer patient population, but there is also a very clear ROI (return on investment) for your support. It is true that the impact of our respites is best measured in smiles per second, hugs per minute, and expressions of love per day…but to translate these into measurable outcomes, FPS asks our Travelers to express their thoughts on their post-respite evaluation forms. I encourage you to view their outcome measures… the impact cannot be ignored.

Additionally, FPS measures the feedback from the medical community regarding the role of respite excursions in the continuum of patient care. Our nominators, respected members of the oncology community, complete pre and post respite evaluation forms. 100% of these nominators report post-respite improvement in patients outlook on life!

Pete changed my life forever – before and after cancer took him from me. And now, Pete continues to change the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of adult cancer patients (and their own caregivers) by creating joy through the therapeutic powers of respite.

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