Send Me On Vacation Partners with Grand Pacific Resorts and Hunkapi Programs to Provide Therapeutic Horseback Riding to a Survivor and Her Foster Kids

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (September 22, 2015) – Send Me On Vacation (SMOV), a non-profit that sends breast cancer survivors on vacation, partnered with Grand Pacific Resorts on September 18, 2015, to provide Renee Figueroa and her seven children with a day of therapeutic horseback riding at Hunkapi Programs. Figueroa is a single mother with one adopted son and three foster children, all of whom are special needs. The event was a follow-up to the Figueroa family’s SMOV vacation in March 2015, sponsored by Grand Pacific Resorts.


“It was an afternoon of pure joy,” says Terra Schaad, executive director of Hunkapi, a non-profit that uses horses to help children with autism and other disabilities. “The Figueroa family is a shining example of resilience, compassion, and relatedness.”

Pam Horwitz, an SMOV board member and two-time cancer survivor, watched as the Figueroa family interacted with the horses and certified instructors. “This was an amazing day of healing. These children have been through so much. What an amazing gift.”

Schaad started the session with a mindfulness exercise. The Figueroa family then enjoyed an hour in the arena with eight of Hunkapi’s four-legged healers. Each rider was assigned to an instructor, and even the most reserved child warmed up to his horse by the end of the lesson.

“My kids and I had so much fun! The kids keep asking to go back and visit their horses,” said Figueroa. “We’ve actually wanted to go horseback riding before, but it wasn’t possible with our large family and all the medical bills. Thank you to everyone who made this happen!”

The partnership came about after Grand Pacific Resorts, a timeshare management company and Hunkapi supporter, hosted the Figueroa family at Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel in Carlsbad, California, as part of its Extraordinary Vacations program with SMOV. Renee Wagner, RRP, director of marketing at Grand Pacific Resorts, was deeply moved by Figueroa’s story and saw the opportunity to connect her with Hunkapi, which is based less than 30 minutes from the family’s home in Glendale, Arizona.

“What a privilege to bring these two non-profits together for such an extraordinary family,” said Wagner, who coordinated the event and presented Hunkapi with a $2,500 check from ResorTime, the company’s rental arm. Hunkapi recently participated in ResorTime’s beCause Destination Matters crowd-sourced voting contest, in which three non-profits compete for a donation.

About Send Me On Vacation

Send Me On Vacation is a non-profit organization that sends breast cancer survivors on their dream vacations. Many survivors lack the financial resources to travel, yet experience has shown that vacations are an important part of cancer recovery, encouraging an additional level of physical and emotional healing. Send Me On Vacation has helped more than 100 women since it began in 2011. To read their inspiring stories, visit