Shannon Phillips and her family standing in the courtyard of GPP

When breast cancer survivor Shannon Philips first heard about Send Me On Vacation through a friend who volunteers for the organization, she considered it an interesting coincidence.

But when Shannon heard that she along with her husband and two young kids had an opportunity to spend a gifted week at Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad, she knew it was much more than that.

After multiple surgeries followed by rounds of chemo and radiation last year—on top of trying to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic—Shannon was more than ready to leave 2020 behind, and her family’s beach trip was the perfect way to signify a fresh start.

Shannon and her husband grew up visiting the beaches of San Diego every year, and she was excited to share her love of the ocean with her two kids, ages 5 and 3.

“I’m instantly happier near the beach,” she said.  “I didn’t realize how much my family needed this until we got there.”

The Associates at Grand Pacific Palisades made sure the Philips family felt welcome from the moment they arrived. They set them up in a corner unit with a panoramic view of the Carlsbad Flower Fields and also had gifts waiting for everyone: pool toys and stuffed animals for the kids, a growler and gift card for her husband, and a beach bag, beach hat, and bath set for Shannon.

“They treated us like celebrities,” Shannon said. “My beach bag even had pineapples on it, which are my favorite. I don’t know how they knew that!”

The family then kicked off a week that Shannon recalled as being the perfect mix of relaxation and fun. They visited the Carlsbad Lagoon, picked strawberries, went to SeaWorld, and enjoyed tons of beach and pool time at the resort.

Shannon pointed out that the resort did an amazing job of making her feel comfortable in regards to safety protocols, which was especially important to her since it was the first time she had visited anywhere in over a year.

Despite all the fun her family had at the resort and around San Diego, Shannon’s favorite place to be was out on their unit’s patio watching the sunset over the flower fields.

One evening she was watching the sun go down when she realized it had been exactly one year since her mastectomy. She described it as a milestone moment in which she felt a sense of peace she hadn’t been able to feel in a long time. And watching her family leave feeling equally renewed and happy was icing on the cake.

As Owners, you understand the value of vacations firsthand. To get involved with this cause, you can do so by donating your week through GPX Revive & Thrive or by making a donation directly to Send Me On Vacation. We’re touched by your incredible generosity and are excited to continue sending more deserving survivors on a much-needed vacation.