HW: Family’s gift was a trip of a lifetime

Front L-R Teresa Black, Melissa Bashara, Suzanne Overholt.Back L-R Matt Bashara and Burke Martin. All are board members for Trips, Dreams & Memories Foundation

Burke Martin wants to give local families the dream vacation he never had the chance to share with his family.

His wife, Tammy Martin, died May 13, 2008, from ovarian and colon cancer. They were married nearly 16 years.

Before Tammy’s death, the couple and their children, Erin and Connor Martin, were planning a cruise to somewhere tropical because the chemotherapy always made Tammy cold. A cruise also was a trip Burke and Tammy had wanted to go on since they got married.

Instead, the family’s plans became the inspiration for helping other families, resulting in the creation of the Tammy D. Martin Trips, Dreams & Memories Foundation.

An official launch party for the foundation is Wednesday. The foundation will raise money to send families on vacations as donations allow. Its mission is to help families create a happy memory together instead of the sad day-to-day memories that an illness can bring.

“When a parent becomes ill, that is the only memory some of these kids will have,” said Melissa Bashara, who is Tammy’s sister and president of the foundation.

The foundation board is made up of members of Tammy’s family, which enables all money
given to the foundation to be given to other families, they said.

The idea for the foundation was sparked a couple years ago when Tammy’s sister, Teresa Black, was trying to find a foundation to help pay for Tammy’s family to go on a trip. The family couldn’t afford to send Tammy and her husband and children on a vacation.

Black located five small foundations that helped pay for families’s vacations when one parent has a life-threatening illness, but those foundations were all on the East Coast. The nationally known Make-A-Wish Foundation only helps when a child has a life-threatening illness, not a parent.

As a result, Tammy’s family knew a foundation geared toward helping provide memory-making trips for families like their sister’s was needed here.

“She loved to travel,” Black said. “She called herself a hotel snob because she loved to stay in nice hotels.”

Burke Martin agreed. His wife would find any excuse to stay at nice hotels in Denver.

Tammy’s children, Erin, 13, and Connor, 12, will be involved with the foundation by helping to plan activities for the children who go away on trips.

The foundation’s Web site, tripsdreamsmemories.org, officially will be online on Wednesday, which is when nominations for families will begin to be accepted.

Tammy’s family would like to raise enough money to send one family on a vacation before school starts in the fall.


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