We had an amazing vacation thanks to Memories of Love!

To travel is to liveI love to travel. I love to visit other places and think I love it even more now after my surgeries. I always feel most alive seeing a new place!

Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to travel much in my life. However, my fun travel has been limited this past year due to my health.

Thankfully, we just came back from an amazingly special vacation! Ironically, it’s similar to the one we took last March, but this is so much more meaningful.

After our family vacation to Florida last March, I ended up in the hospital diagnosed with another stroke. (It had been 14 years since my last stroke.) I was then diagnosed with a rare brain disease, Moyamoya disease. There is no cure for Moyamoya but the recommended treatment is brain surgery. I had to leave my children to fly across the country with my husband to California in June for two brain surgeries a week apart. It was a trying time but I was able to get through it with faith, support, courage, amazing doctors and love.

We returned to California as a family in January for post-op testing and received the amazing news that my surgeries were successful.

Upon our return from testing, my husband and I discussed the possibility of a family vacation. Many of our friends were traveling out of the country which wasn’t an option for us. We weren’t sure what we could/would swing when an amazing opportunity basically fell into our lap.

A fellow Moyamoya patient on my Facebook support group posted about a family trip that she just took thanks to a nonprofit organization called Memories of Love. Their mission is to create joyful memories for children whose parents have a life-threatening illness.

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Created in loving memory of Marty Gottlieb, Memories of Love helps create lasting and loving memories by sending the entire family for five days to Orlando, Florida for a fun-filled vacation which include five nights/six days in a hotel and tickets to Universal Studios and Sea World. (www.memoriesoflove.org)

I was intrigued and soon spoke on the phone with the organization to learn a bit more. The staff was just delightful and so helpful. We were advised to fill out an application for a wish.

We knew our window of opportunity for escaping the New England winter was short and a bit limited due to other obligations. Yet, just two days after submitting the application electronically, we were sent a hotel confirmation for March and instructions for getting our amusement park tickets. This quick turnaround enabled us to make flights to secure our trip.

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We are so appreciative of this giving organization. It’s been a rocky year so we were overjoyed for this opportunity. Relaxing by the pool and experiencing the fun of the amusement parks created amazing memories for all of us. We were treated so well the entire time- I can’t sufficiently compliment his generous and loving organization! I probably took 300 photos but here are a few of the highlights.

Visiting Springfield, Home of the Simpsons, at Universal Studios
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Enjoying a Butter Beer at Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure
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Family smiles at Sea World
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The Shamu Show at Sea World
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Enjoying the pool at our beautiful hotel!
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Meeting Shamu at Sea World

A huge THANK YOU to Memories of Love for giving us this opportunity.

Again and again, I feel so blessed.