Eberhardt Family

Back to Families

Stephen D. Eberhardt: 5/21/1970 - 9/16/2009


To everyone involved in the Eberhardt WOW Experience,

WOW! Where to begin, they definitely call it a WOW Experience for a reason! We had a trip of a lifetime and we all were very spoiled when returning back to GA after living like royalty for 5 days in LA.
First, we’d like to thank Jill, the social worker, at NEGA Cancer Center for thinking of us for this opportunity. She then connected us with Heidi Cohen who brought the whole story together from parking to flights to hotel to adventures, etc. There were many nights she would call us, way after working hours, putting together last minute details for our trip. We really felt she was committed and had a huge passion for making memorable moments for patients and their families.
We first arrived at the Park ‘N Fly Plus in Atlanta who gave us 10 days of complimentary parking, which was fabulous and made traveling in a large group much easier! Thank you so much Park ‘N Fly for your generous donation.
Next we arrived at the ATL airport to take our flight to LAX, which was completely donated by Airtran Airways. Airtran was the top of our list for travel to and from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, before the trip and this make us love Airtran that much more. Airtran, thank you for your support in getting us to our vacation and back again!
Next we arrived at LAX with a personal driver, sent by the Westin, to take us to the hotel and help with our luggage. When we arrived at the Westin LAX, we were welcomed with 10-15 of the kindest faces you’ve ever seen. Little did we know we would consider all of them friends by the end of our trip. A few of the staff helped us to our room. We kept going up and up on the elevator, and finally we stopped at the top floor. You know usually the top floor has the best suites, but who knew we would be in Presidential Suite for a 4 night stay! Emily and Addison had their own room which means so did mom and dad. How great! There were beautiful balloons everywhere and snacks for us after a long journey. After settling in Doug and I were instructed to go to the spa a for a 1 hour massage that was fit for a star! We really needed this and it started our vacation out just right! Emily and Addison enjoyed free time swimming with Mama T and Aunt K.K.(our helpers, who we can’t thank enough either). Upon returning we enjoyed a candlelight formal private dinner in our suite. None of us had ever experienced a meal quite like this. This was defiantly Melisa’s favorite. We were served Dom Pirignon champagne, chardonnay, and red wine throughout the meal at certain times. This was the best food we had ever eaten and I believe the chef and restaurant enjoyed the excitement as much as we did. After a splendid meal, we met the chef behind it all and had pictures. After a long day we called it a night and prepared for the adventures of the day to come.
On Wednesday, we had complimentary breakfast at the Westin’s restaurant and started the day with Natalie Del Real and Daniela Stiles as a our personal guides around LA. The Westin supplied us with a van to take us on the tour. We started with a personal tour of the Paramount Studios were we saw a real TV show being filmed and learned all kinds of secrets about film making, which Doug really loved and found quite interesting. Addison loved getting to ride around in golf cart. Thank you Paramount Studios for letting us come behind your scenes, it was fantastic!
Next we were taken to the famous Chinese Theatre where we took pictures with several movie characters, checked out the famous handprints, and walked the Walk of Stars down Hollywood Blvd. And the best surprise was our own concrete handprint to take back home from Hollywood. We then went to the Kodak Theatre, home of the Oscars, where we walked the walk of glory like all the Oscar winners. Our personal tour included the private lounge and standing on stage where many stars have stood, how great. Thank you Kodak Theatre for a memorable tour and lots to think about when seeing the Oscars on TV!
At the conclusion of our tour, we were greeted by 4 Laker cheerleaders and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Emily loves cheering and was quite surprised to meet professional cheerleaders. Thank you girls, for taking time out of your busy schedules to give Doug something really fun to smile about and share with his friends. The girls were so compassionate and reached out to Emily by giving her their email addresses to contact them if she ever needs to just talk. All of us got autographed pictures.
One of the most touching moments of our trip was when our family was presented a Hollywood Star that is identical and painted by the same artist that creates them for the real stars of Hollywood. Thank you Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, this one is defiantly going on our memory wall at home!
Next we had lunch with Laker Cheerleaders at the California Pizza Kitchen off of Hollywood Blvd. The girls were given aprons and got to make there on pizza. We had the best seat in the house with the view of the Hollywood sign in the distance. We felt the love and had very full tummies! Thank you CPK for a lunch and dessert to remember.
Shopping at the Grove was to follow. The girls were each given $50 gift cards compliments of the Grove. We were all treated with the first trolley ride of the year and a personal touch from Santa Clause with several 5×7 photos and video of Addison’s experience. The Grove, thank you so much for sharing the Christmas cheer with our family. Hopefully Addison will get the makeup she asked for from Santa.
Next we headed for the Westin in downtown LA to freshen up for the first ever Live Grammy Nomination Concert hosted by Taylor Swift (Emily’s favorite) and LL Cool J. We then heard, Mariah Carey, John Mayer (Emily’s favorite) and BB King (Doug’s personal favorite), Celine Dion (who Melisa has always want to see), Foo Fighters, and Christina Aguilera. Little did Emily know that the Jonas Brothers would be receiving a nomination and were present. Sparks were flying when she realized they were only a short distance away. All of us really enjoyed the 1 hour performance by John Mayer. Thank you so much Nokia Theatre for access and the privilege of hearing some great performers. We ended our evening, being picked up by the Westin’s town car and room service compliments of the Westin. Emily loved that she could stretch her legs so far in the town car.
On Thursday, we enjoyed breakfast compliments of the Westin at the restaurant and a fun filled day at Universal Studios where Addison got to see Dora and express with kisses that she was her biggest fan. We all enjoyed some spectacular rides, and especially enjoyed the studio tour. Melisa could hardly stay in her seat when Wisteria Lane passed by. Please let us say that the staff at Universal Studios were so helpful and kind whenever we needed help. Thank you Universal Studios for a splendid family day! Upon return a town car was sent to take us to the Santa Monica Pier to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean then dinner a the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Yum!
On Friday once again, we had breakfast at the Westin compliments of the Westin and we were surprised to be greeted with a stretch limousine to take all of us to Disneyland for the day. Emily especially would like to express that she loved this and could get use to it very easily. But before leaving for Disney we gathered the team at the Westin LAX, so we could have a photo of all of you who went out of your way to make us feel at home. We did not come across a single team member who didn’t seem to just love their job and always have a bright smile on their face. Melisa’s great aunt and uncle, Pam and Keith, made our trip to Disney possible. Addison loved Minnie and all the princesses while Emily enjoyed some scary rides. The limousine returned to pick us up and return us to the Westin LAX. When returning to the hotel we had snacks once again and found personalized Christmas tree ornaments with memories from our trip, a signed autographed picture frame of all the members of our new family at the Westin LAX , memory card with all the photos taken by the hotel, and breakfast boxes to take on the plane for our return trip. We ended our day once again with room service compliments of the Westin.
Sadly on Saturday, it was time to leave our lives as stars to return home. But we were bringing back many memories and hands full of new friends. To our family at the Westin LAX, you have all touched our hearts in many different ways and gave us a vacation of a lifetime. We are planning to make a wall in our home of special memories with our trip to LA at the top of the list. Special thanks to Lakeithia Terry and Glenn Sampert at the Westin LAX, for their help planning through the Jack and Jill Foundation. Also we don’t want to forget Paul Gregory in coordinating our special dinner and all other meals and Alfredo Anguiano for giving us such a warm smile every morning and helping with last minute details. To Daniela Hiles and Natalie Del Real, every little detailed planned for our tour day did not go unnoticed and we could have not seen so much of LA in one day without you. I feel that my family truly bonded with you both. And we can’t forget the great service and smiles in the transportation/concierge department and restaurant with too many wonderful people to name. Hopefully we did not leave anyone out because no one went unnoticed. Thank you all again for being so compassionate in your caring and giving. We pray that you all can be touched like we have been during these trial and tribulations of our lives.
Heidi Cohen and the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation, Thank you again for bringing it all together like a perfect puzzle!

-George Elliston

With great appreciation,

Doug, Melisa, Emily, and Addison Eberhardt