When time may be running out, a local charity fulfills wishes for parents who have life-threatening illnesses.
The charity, called “Treasured Time” is helping two brave mothers create lasting memories.
Stacey Aresta said she hoped to take her family on a trip to the Grand Canyon some day, being able to camp under the stars, riding a donkey up the rock face, but after receiving some devastating news, it looked like that may never be possible.
“I was diagnosed with stage-four metastetic breast cancer at the age of 41,” Aresta said.
Between mounting medical bills and battling a serious illness, the mother of three thought she would never go on that trip.
“Because of all the chemo and everything, me camping and hiking and doing the donkey, the thing that I really, really wanted to do, wasn't possible,” Aresta said.
The folks at the non-profit Treasured Time, located in Seymour, were not going to let Aresta give up on her dream.
The organization's mission is to help parents diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses create a lasting memory with their children.
“We wanted to give them that time. That moment, where bills don't matter. Doctors don't matter, nothing matters except spending that time together as a family, and giving them that memory that those children will have for the rest of their life,” said Treasured Time Founder Suzanne Major.
She and her team knew that despite Aresta's physical limitations, they could still send the family to the Grand Canyon, and they even booked a helicopter tour.
“We went over the dunes and we landed on the Grand Canyon and we saw the Colorado rapids in the background,” Aresta said.
It was the trip of a lifetime, and for two weeks nobody thought about the uncertainty of tomorrow, just lived for the day.
“I don't think it's fair to my kids, it's not fair to them, and to have memories of me being happy, and enjoying life with me is so important,” Aresta said.
Treasured Time is now working on creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Debra Ouellette.
She is a single mother of six and worked hard to make a good living for her family, and decided nursing school would be her ticket to a comfortable life.
“I had said to them, when I become a nurse, I'm going to put money aside, and we're going to go on a cruise,” Ouellette said.
She was so close to saving up enough, and then she got sick.
“The money's gone...there's nothing left. I was almost there,” she said.
Ouellette is battling stage-four liver cancer.
“Treasured time is allowing me to you know go through with that promise, that I had promised my kids,” she said.
The family is setting sail in the next few months.
Treasured Time is only in Connecticut, but those who run the organization said they hope to expand and help families nationwide.
If you would like to support Treasured Time, or know a family that could benefit from the organization, click here.
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