The Jack and Jill Foundation is a wonderful organization that promises a WOW experience to families stricken by cancer in order for them to make memories. This was a promise fulfilled to my family thanks to Air Tran, the Longboat Key Club & Resort, and Busch Gardens. We are so very grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness that was shown to us. It certainly was a WOW experience. I wish my words could adequately describe how truly thankful we are and what joy you have brought to my family. So much of our lives revolves around my treatments and how I am feeling. This trip gave my family the opportunity to step outside that part of our lives, enjoy each others company, and have a great time surrounded by the beauty and luxury of the Longboat Key Club & Resort and the excitement and fun of Busch Gardens.
Thank you Tad Hutcheson and Air Tran for supplying the transportation for this wonderful trip. This was only my children’s second trip on an airplane, so that in itself was very exciting for them. They are three boys ages 10, 8, and 4. They loved looking out the windows as we took off and landed. They loved seeing the ocean and the long bridges as we approached Tampa. They will never forget it. Your generosity in giving us these plane tickets made this whole trip possible and we are so very grateful.
Michael Welly, Gloria Schroeder, and the staff of Longboat Key Club & Resort gave us an incredible stay at an incredible resort. We are so very appreciative of the hospitality, kindness, and generosity that you showed us. We could never have imagined such a beautiful place with such magnificent accommodations, delicious food, and wonderful people. This was not a resort my family could ever have afforded to visit. My children, my husband and I were able to escape from our cancer driven reality into the calm and peacefulness of your resort. We were treated with such kindness and made to feel so special by Gloria and the staff. Gloria truly is a treasure. She went out of her way to make us feel welcome and welcome we felt. She greeted us with beautiful flowers, baskets of snacks, and toys for Nicholas, Kyle and Matthew. The excitement on the boys’ faces was such a joy to see. Even more exciting for them was the day trip Gloria arranged for them with the Kids Club. Sara and Mya from the Kids Club took them to the aquarium, a science museum, and lunch. They had such a wonderful time. If that was not enough, Gloria, outside of her work hours, came back to our room that evening with her daughter Tiffany and took the boys to Five Guys Hamburgers and to play miniature golf. Tiffany took beautiful photos of our family on the beach. The boys had such a great time. They talked about feeding the alligators at miniature golf for days.
While the boys were having this fun filled day of excitement and entertainment, Rick took a long walk on the beach and I partook in a Pilates class and a pedicure. They were both wonderful. Rick and I had time to rest and went on to have a delicious meal at Sand Pointe, a relaxing walk on the beach, and a stroll through town. Thanks to Gloria, Tiffany, and the girls from the Kids Club, Rick and I enjoyed a relaxing and quiet day. With three boys, we don’t get very many of those so this was a wonderful treat for us. Thank you so very much.
The rest of our stay at Longboat Key Club & Resort we spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the beach, splashing in the pool, and eating delicious meals in your wonderful restaurants. Our most complex decisions during our stay were which of the fabulous restaurants to eat at and which to go to first, the beach or the pool. I loved waking up in the morning and watching the sun come up from one end of the balcony and then at night, walking to the other end of the balcony and seeing the sun come down. I have never experienced that in all my life. It was such a treat. You gave our family a much needed break from the treatments, the stress, and the ups and downs of life dealing with cancer. You will never know what a gift you have given us. We created wonderful memories that my husband and my children will never forget. We are so very grateful.
On Friday, we left the peaceful tranquility of the Longboat Key Club & Resort and traveled to the fun and excitement of Busch Gardens. Thank you so very much, Busch Gardens, for providing us the opportunity to enjoy your incredible park. Rick, Nicholas, and Kyle rode some of your more thrilling rides while I took Matthew on the kiddie rides. He loved the motorcycles and the airplanes. The Air Grover was his very first roller coaster ride and he just loved it. The Gwazi was Nicholas and Kyle’s first large roller coaster ride. They will never forget these rides. I wish I had been there to see the look on Kyle’s face that my husband had described. Priceless. We had a great time feeding the flamingos and rode the train around the park as a family. My children love trains and animals and got a good dose of both on the train ride. It was wonderful. We wish we had more time to experience more of your beautiful park. Our flight departed Friday evening and brought our trip to Busch Gardens to an end earlier than we would have liked. Thanks to your generous gift of the Quick Queue we were able to ride more rides and thanks to your gift of the meal pass we were able to eat at no cost to us. The day was fantastic and filled with fun and excitement. My children will always remember the day they spent at Busch Gardens with their mom and dad. We are so thankful that you gave us the opportunity to create these memories.
Finally, I would like to thank The Jack & Jill Foundation, Jon Albert, and Heidi Cohen. It is through the efforts of Jon Albert and his foundation that this WOW experience even became possible for us. We created memories that will never be forgotten and I am so grateful for the chance to do that. I am so sorry that it was your personal experience with your wife’s cancer that made the creation of your foundation possible, but I am so thankful that you took that experience and made a wonderful foundation that brings such joy to families who deal with the same pain you did. You are a wonderful person and I am so grateful for the joy you have brought my family. Thank you Heidi, for all the work you put in to planning and co-ordinating such a wonderful trip. Everything was perfect. Thank you for your insight into what you thought would be good for us. You were right on. Thank you so very much.
My children have experienced first hand, the trials of cancer and the extreme generosity of people. They have witnessed this thanks to all of you who made this trip possible. It is a lesson they will carry with them all their lives and it is my greatest hope that they will share it with others. I sincerely thank all of you involved in giving us this WOW experience. You gave us rest, you gave us peace, and most of all, you gave us memories. Thank you.
Shawn Morse and the Morse family
(Rick, Nicholas, Kyle, & Matthew)