Health Team

Retreat eases cancer fight for families

Posted October 11, 2013 5:25 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2013 6:25 p.m. EDT

— When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it affects the whole family, especially when the patient is a young mother. Medical treatments add a layer of complication on top of the usual family and work responsibilities.

To help families get away from some of those pressures, cancer survivor Jean P. Coble founded Little Pink Houses of Hope, a beach destination retreat.

Alyssa Minshall, 35, her daughter, Charlie, and son, Indie, are among those who have been able to use a Hatteras Island getaway to recharge for their fight against the disease.

Minshall endured a double mastectomy and aggressive chemotherapy treatments, and her husband, Robbie Minshall, and their children felt the weight of worry.

A weeklong retreat donated by Little Pink Houses of Hope put them in contact with other families in the same situation.

"It was all families that had young children, too, going through the exact same thing," she said.

For a week, they had no chores. Everything was provided for them so they could focus on enjoying each other and bonding with other families facing the same fight.

"What they have done for me and my family, I can't even begin to thank them," Minshall said.

She was moved to donate 33 percent of the October profits from her small business to help provide the same retreat experience for others.

Minshall's children were her inspiration for a homegrown business making sticker books. She wanted to provide her kids with the fun she remembered growing up. When she could not find the right product, she began her publishing company.

"We have eight varieties of sticker books," she said.

Just as her company was getting off the ground in April 2012, she got her cancer diagnosis.

"I found a lump in my breast when I was snuggling my kids. I was putting them down to bed," she said.

She discovered she had inherited the BRCA 2 breast cancer gene.

"My journey's not completely over, but I know what I can do," she said. "I can start helping out."