Foundation offers special vacations for families
Raising funds was supposed to be the hard part. Finding people who would benefit from those funds was supposed to be easy.
Tammy Martin’s family members can’t believe how wrong they were.
Martin’s husband, children, parents and siblings created the Tammy D. Martin Trips, Dreams & Memories Foundation in May so that Western Slope parents with life-threatening illnesses would have the chance to take their children on worry-free vacations.
The idea of a foundation was born after Martin died from cancer in May 2008, before she could go on a planned cruise with her children.
But no parents have come forward to see whether their families qualify for all-expenses-paid vacations from the foundation. Nor has a family recommended by others been able to take the trip, for various reasons.
In the meantime, Martin’s family plans to continue raising money while interest compounds on the $5,000 it already has in the bank.
“We are all in shock,” said Teresa Black, Tammy Martin’s sister and a member of the foundation’s board. “We thought we’d have so many nominations and be torn about which families to choose. We sat for hours and deliberated on selection criteria. Turns out, we had the money in five weeks.”
With that accomplished, they put requirements in place for people who want to take advantage of the foundation’s mission.
To qualify for a free vacation through the foundation, families must live on the Western Slope. At least one parent in the family must have a life-threatening illness, as was the case with Martin. However, the parent must be cleared by a physician to travel domestically.
At least one of the children in the family must be 4 years or older.
Children who have a life-threatening or terminal illness do not qualify. Martin’s family wanted to create a foundation that would specifically benefit healthy children who need a positive, lasting memory with a sick parent, as was the case with Tammy Martin’s two children. Erin and Connor Martin will be putting together travel packs for all children going on trips because they, as children, know what children want and need on vacation.
“They are really anxious,” said Suzanne Overholt, a foundation board member and Tammy Martin’s mother.
Overholt and Black understand that accepting a free vacation is difficult for some people. Once families discuss their willingness to go on vacation, the foundation wants to be there to help.
Martin’s family, who are the only people on the foundation’s board, will work with any selected family to plan the vacation. It might be something as simple as going to Glenwood Springs to soak in the hot springs, or a place much farther away, such as the ocean.
Although the Martin family created the foundation so that local families could fulfill dreams and make memories, the family has dreams of its own.
“This is an opportunity to make a memory for your children,” Black said. “My dream is we send a family on vacation, and Mom or Dad comes back and gets well. Getting well is fine by us.”