Sparling Family

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Lisa F. Sparling: 6/1/1955 - 1/8/2015

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Dear Heidi,

I am guilty of perfectionism and procrastination!!!! I keep wanting to have the time to write the most touching heartfelt thanks for our amazing vacation, and this thing is not getting sent off. Not good! I apologize and here it is and here it goes to you all. WOWEEE and Thanks!! To the Jack and Jill Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Budget Rent-a-Car,Ritz Carlton-Marina Del Ray,Universal Studios,Shutterfly, and Elite Adventure Tours for giving our family truly a WOW experience. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and for all four of us the trip touched us profoundly. At the start of the trip Southwest helped me, with a spinal compression fracture, be as comfortable as possible on the flight. And tended to my whole family. Then what a greeting! The Ritz Carlton-Marina Del Ray had a party of people pick us up at the airport limo-grand style and escorted us to the hotel.

The kids were flabbergasted. When the whole staff received us at the entrance to their grand hotel, I honestly thought a convention of some sort was going on. It made me cry to realize all the people involved, who didn't know us from squat, but generously contributed to our special stay. It also helped me absorb the idea that this has been a difficult, nerve wracking journey- especially with kids and that we were doing it! Surviving 5 years. And that something like the Jack and Jill Foundation exists to validate, support , honor us and give us such a huge time together unexpected vacation.....wow Thank you universe! Eduardo from concierge was delightful and manuvered around seamlessly personally tending to every guest in his path. We always felt welcome and taken care of on the 11th floor and anywhere he saw us. We could have easily spent our whole time at the pool cabana: the drinks, shade, view, weather and comfort a dream. Mallory loves pools and found many playmates there and in the 11th floor private reception room. Having ready access to great food so conveniently was a decadent treat for a cancer pt.

Making food choices, figuring out amounts, ability to have small meals all (and not have to cook!) all were a treat. Rosie,our attentive maid service tending to our room, continued the the warmth with smiles and notes. McKenna the sweet young worker, who my daughter Mallory fell in love with immediately, surprised us all by taking us out on the town on her night off! How fun. Somehow we all feel we shall see her again. Paul from Elite Adventure Tours was quite the tour guide never short of words, stories, and always snapping photos. We did indeed get awesome photos at the hollywood sign and Chinese theatre. Ryder, my 15 year old, really enjoyed getting to see the legendary Los Angeles and some west coast lifestyles. Universal studios was a great family outing and we loved going to the front of the lines! What a gorgeous huge marina!

The salon was another place I could have parked myself for days:-) Thank you so for the above and beyond services. Everyone of us enjoyed something. Ryder got his first professional massage ever. Mal got toes and fingers painted. Ben shed tons of stress with his massage. And I got the "queen for the day" special. When you have late stage cancer skin care seems like the last of your concerns. I am tearing up thinking about it. The gal giving me a facial exfoliation worked down my neck and saw my chest and port-a-cath. The skin around it was darkened and dry. I hadn't realized it but I was a little scared of the site and kind of ignored the area. She said "no problem, let me help you clean it up". She tenderly removed lots of stuff I thought was just part of the damage. Taking the time and care like that, for some reason, made me feel worlds better. It was suggested I have a full body scrub experience next .(if not now than when?) Wow again. Our final thanks is for everything else. The framed pictures McKenna took of my kids, and the framed picture of the Ritz Carlton surrounded with comments and well wishes, hangs in our dining room as mementos of the wow trip that came out of the blue. The Shutterfly book is priceless and sits on our coffee table . It is passed around regularly and to be seen and remembered! WOW!!!

Sincerely, Lisa,Ben,Ryder, and Mallory