Name: Nancy Kelly
Organization: Hilton Head Heroes
Town: Hilton Head Island
Involved for: 14 years
Activity in organization: Hospitality coordinator
A much-needed break. The mission of Hilton Head Heroes is really to provide all these families with children who are suffering with life-threatening illnesses ... just to give them a cost-free island vacation. The founders, Gregg Russell, and his wife, Lindy, started it in 1999. Since then, hundreds of families have enjoyed being together here ... so they can get away from all the pressures of the hospitals and the treatments, just to help them create happy memories that last for however long the lifetime is.
A dream come true. It has been so heartwarming to see the growth and see the number of people who have made it happen through the years and the community support to make this such a wonderful program. And also to have the house (where families stay) look so beautiful and have such a warm and loving atmosphere when these families come. A little girl said, "I feel like a princess in a castle." Some of the people, just to be able to watch movies on the big screen ... and to swim in the pool and barbecue out back. One of the families said it's almost like a dream came true for them. ... I can't say enough about what it means to these families, and this community makes this happen.
A rewarding experience. It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to see the Heroes children forget about their illnesses and see the positive change happening to the whole family, and especially reading the letters and journals they write to us after their week here in our special community.
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.