We cannot fully express our sincere gratitude, or describe the full effects that our time in Fort Lauderdale provided all of us by the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation. We returned home strengthened emotionally, physically, spiritually, and with a heightened sense of fight. From the first phone conversation with Heidi, to our time at the Westin Beach Fort Lauderdale, Marlins game and Jungle Queen cruise, we felt such hope that there are still genuinely good and caring people that exist in this world. Never did we expect to receive such royal, luxurious, and special treatment by numerous people. We were happy and grateful to receive a hotel room and a view. But, what we received was much, much more than we could have ever imagined. All of the luxuries aside, it was the special care and concern from everyone and the lifelong memories that were created that we cherish the most.
At the Westin Beach in Fort Lauderdale, we would especially like to thank Diana for everything she organized with such great care and detail. General Manager, Amaury Piedra was extremely welcoming and generous to us. He gave us his personal attention and made sure that we had an amazing stay. We are so grateful to him for that. The following people went above and beyond so that we had the best time of our lives: Jorge Madrigal, Hotel Manager, Enrique Irizarry, Front Desk Manager, Adam Elmrabti, Director of Food and Beverage (we’ll miss you, Adam!), Andres’, Sous Chef, Robert Pisco (the special help he gave us), Verena Koelbl, Front Desk Manager, and finally Otto Rivzani, Concierge (with whom we are truly grateful). Our worry is that we may have missed someone and, if so, we do apologize. From the maid service, bellmen to the management of the Westin Hotel, we couldn’t have been happier. They helped our family create memories for our children that will last a lifetime. Please also extend our thanks to Michelle and Mary at Waves who made us feel comfortable and welcome every day of our stay. And, we can’t forget Beth, the superior waitress at Shula’s! We will miss you all!
The Marlins organization provided an unbelievable night for us. From the moment we met Boris Menier, Marketing Coordinator, we were treated like royalty. He made our night so memorable and the whole experience was very emotional (batting practice, sitting in the dugout, John receiving a signed game bat, meeting players, and sitting behind home plate to watch a grand slam by Hanley Ramirez). We are all still so excited about that night! It was so amazing for us to watch the sheer joy on our children’s faces when they met the players. This respite from the stressful days of living with cancer in the family was appreciated more than words can possibly say. It was a dream to take us out of our daily environment to experience everything behind the scenes at the Land Shark Stadium. For this opportunity, we are eternally grateful to all of the players, managers and, especially, Boris. We also want to personally thank Brett Carroll, for taking the time away from batting practice to not only take a picture but to chat a bit with us. Our son especially appreciated his generosity. The time at the game will never, ever be forgotten.
The last night we spent on board the Jungle Queen ferry enjoying a relaxing ride up the river. We were provided with the best seats on board and had the time of our life that night. The dinner, tour and island were fabulous. The island we visited had the best barbeque dinner and show. The Jungle Queen staff works very hard to make this a special night for all. We can see why the Jungle Queen has been providing tours for over 70 years. It is definitely not to be missed!
Also, we would like to thank Royal Limousines for the unbelievable ride from the airport. Our daughter’s personal dream was to ride in a stretch limo. Never did she expect to see a Hummer stretch limo pull up in front of her at the airport. She felt just like Cinderella! Miguel, thank you for everything you did to make our transportation luxurious and enjoyable. All of your drivers were outstanding!
Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Heidi Cohen for everything she and the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation has done to give us a most treasured gift–family time in a relaxing, beautiful place. Her personal touch, care and genuine excitement upon hearing our experiences were so appreciated. We truly feel like we have made a friend forever. God bless you, Heidi, and all of your donors at the Jack & Jill Foundation. We can only hope that all of your kindnesses be returned to you.
With much warmth, gratitude and love,
John, Lisa, Johnny and Elisabeth Fox
P.S. We cannot forget to mention Connie Spence, our Bryn Mawr Hospital Oncology Social Worker, who arranged for us to connect with Heidi Cohen from the Jack & Jill Foundation. Since the beginning when John was diagnosed, she has helped our entire family cope and process the diagnosis, treatment and everyday life with cancer and, for that, we are forever grateful. We love you Connie!