We recently received a letter, here at The Dude Ranchers’ Association office, from a family expressing thanks for the wonderful trip they had received as a gift from Colorado Trails Ranch and The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation. The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation is a national resource providing WOW! Experiences for children and families who have a Mom or Dad with late stage, limited life expectancy cancer. The Foundation was inspired by Jill and Jon Albert’s real life story. With years of executive experience in the corporate world, Jon found himself, his wife, Jill, and their two young children, Jake and Jamie, facing Jill’s Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Jill and Jon realized early on in Jill’s fight the disease was not just attacking her body, but it was affecting their entire family. Jon took his marketing and operations expertise and combined it with their drive to formulate something positive and meaningful out of the unfair and cruel. The Alberts knew that for their kids, strong memories of special times together would be their greatest inheritance. From this notion and inspiration, the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation was born. This is where Dude Ranches such as Colorado Trails Ranch come in. Dude Ranchers understand family and back to basics fun better than anyone and in many cases are run and/or are owned by families that have been in the industry for generations. Family means everything and so it just seems logical that we would partner with an organization such as the Jack and Jill Foundation.
The following excerpts from a family who visited Colorado Trails Ranch in August of this year says it all: “Thank you and all those involved for the most amazing family vacations, We just returned from an incredible time out west. We all are still smiling just thinking about our time together. We spent our final week this summer away from hospitals, doctors, bills, pharmacy runs and medical research looking for the miracle cure. Instead, we were tucked away in the cool rocky mountains enjoying sights we had never seen before. Jeannie and Mike rolled out the “red plaid” carpet for us at the ranch. Chef Brian was OUTSTANDING making sure to keep me well nourished and supplied with all the veggies I needed to help battle my illness. I know it wasn’t easy for him and he is a saint in my eyes for taking a special effort to cook special nutrient packed vegetarian meals for me. You could tell Jeannie set the bar pretty high for all her staff. Every single person there went out of their way to make sure we were having a great time and getting to do what we wanted to do even if it meant adjusting their schedules, and they did it graciously. From riding horses, learning to fly fish, hiking & picnicking around the beautiful Spud Lake, mountain climbing, touring the Mesa Verde national park, square dancing to just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, the week will forever be sealed in our hearts as a time of respite in an otherwise turmoiltuous summer; 2 craniotomies, 8 weeks on IV antibiotics to fight off a brain infection and meningitis, repairing a cerebral spinal fluid leak and plastic surgery for scalp reconstruction on top of the cancer battle. This was supposed to be my quiet summer at home with all the kids and instead a few bad scans changed that and all I did was go to the hospital or doctor with the exception of our week at The Colorado Trails Ranch. Thank you for that special time.” “We found out 18 months ago I had brain cancer, grade IV glioblastoma and given 12-15 months. Our life since that day is indescribable; one minute you are so hopeful and the next minute after a bad scan or test you feel yourself being sucked down that black hole. As the patient, you look around and sometimes all you see is the collateral damage you and your illness are causing those you love. With the medical bills piling up and no end in sight, we never would have been able to take a trip like this without the help of Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation. With heartfelt thanks, we are forever grateful to all those that make trips like ours possible. Life is truly full of angels here on earth and we are thankful for those angels that were led togive to Jack & Jill so that families like ours can make memories, laughing, smiling and hugging each otherwhen at times we find it hard just to breathe and process the reality of our situation.”
The Dude Ranchers’ Association wants to express our gratitude to The Jack & Jill Foundation for allowing us to participate and also to thank all of our amazing ranches who participate in such a worth while cause. We applaud you! If you or anyone you know would like to donate or find out more about The Jack & Jill Foundation Late Stage Cancer Foundation, please go to their web site at www.jafa.org.