YUMA, Ariz. - October is well known as National Breast Cancer Awareness month. One stage-four breast cancer fighter in Yuma is making a major difference in others battling cancer all over the country.
Denise Perreault started The Great Escape Adventure non-profit organization in January. It's an organization that takes stage-four cancer patients on the trip of a lifetime. Perreault's own story is what led her to starting this business.
"In January 2014, I was in a severe car accident in Mexico. I was hit head-on by a drunk driver on the freeway and that basically put me in the hospital for two months, breaking both my legs, both of my arms and it took a bit to recuperate but praise God I did and I was brought back from Mexico here to the United State," she shared with News 11. "While I was being followed up in tests for treatment and surgeries ... it was at that time that I was diagnosed with cancer ... I was one of the unfortunate ones diagnosed with stage four cancer which is also known as metastatic cancer or also known as a terminal cancer," Perreault said.
Despite her challenges, Perreault is living each day to the fullest. She encourages others to not sit and dwell on the negative.
"I decided that I wanted to go out and help other people and if I focused on helping other people it took what I was going through off of me," she said.
"So then it was one of those things I thought to myself, what do people who have a terminal diagnosis really want out of life?" "For me personally, I thought that I don't want to focus on cancer, I don't want to focus on treatments, I want to focus on living for today and living in the moment," Perreault added.
Her zeal for life propelled her to start her own business which takes stage-four cancer patients and their families on a trip. During the trip they leave cancer behind and enjoy life together making lasting memories and friendships.
Through Facebook outreach, Perreault was able to gather 44 people to attend their first cruise to the Bahamas. Since then, the response has been life changing.
The trip was such a success, now there are over 2,500 people all over the United States and Canada interested in joining the Great Escape Adventure.
There are nine ambassadors representing different states and all but two of them have terminal breast cancer.
The next trips are to Cozumel in December and an Alaskan cruise in May.
If you are interested in attending one of these trips as a cancer fighter, volunteer, or if you are willing to sponsor a person, contact (719)-204-3545 or visit www.thegreatescapeadventure.org
"I know of several people here in Yuma who have put in interested into the great escape but financially they can't make it and my heart breaks for them because they're terminal and they want to live life for a week and create that memory with their family but they can't afford it," Perreault said.
Perreault is looking for any local businesses willing to help sponsor people on these trips. Also, there is a need for any donations to include in their gift bags for the trips.
Contact www.thegreatescapeadventure.org for more information.