Let’s face it, we all need a getaway. But for those of us who have dealt with everything life can throw at us, we need to take the trip of a lifetime. Amber and her fiancée, Pat, are just those people.
Amber is an independent, hardworking young woman who was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia at only 23 years old. She endured two years of treatment and countless blood transfusions which left her unable to work.
I was sick, and always tired from low hemoglobin. I lost my insurance and had to apply for disability. I was without an income for 6 months until disability and Medicaid kicked in. My mom did some fundraising to help us pay some bills, but a lot went unpaid. I was very fortunate that Mayo Clinic had a financial assistance program so I was able to get my treatments covered.” – Amber
Amber’s disease is now under control and in partial remission. Her blood counts and immune system have steadily improved, but she has long-term side effects and an increased risk of secondary cancers from her treatment. Amber has returned to work full-time, although she bears the burden of numerous medical bills and expenses.
Despite all of this hardship, Amber has had a wonderful and dedicated support system in her longterm boyfriend, Pat. He has been by her side from before her diagnosis through the toughest times. In October of 2014, Pat asked Amber to marry him.
All of us at Live For Today feel very fortunate to have gotten to known Amber through our group events. She has been at nearly every one, excited to try something new and willing to share her experiences with other young adults who are in similar situations. We waited a long time for Amber’s immune system to recover in order to provide her with a Life Adventure. Because Amber and Pat have always loved the marine life and beach culture, we knew we wanted to send them on a once-in-a-lifetime island vacation.
On October 15th, Amber and Pat departed on Island Air Charters from Ft. Lauderdale in route to a private island in the Bahamas. Upon landing, they were greeted with their very own golf cart – the only form of transportation on the two mile long island.
For the next week, they woke up in a villa overlooking the ocean. There were no alarm clocks and no schedule. Each day they were truly able to ‘live for today’ whether they spent it kayaking, fishing, riding bicycles, paddle boarding, looking for sea glass or taking a swim in the pool.
Thanks to the lovely host families on the island, Amber and Pat were able to explore the island by boat. They were able to get a different view of the island and explore some of the nearby shipwrecks. One day, they even went for a picnic on a neighboring island.
The newly engaged couple enjoyed spending time together without the distractions of daily life. Some nights they cooked together, other nights they went out for a nice meal, but they never missed the island’s beautiful sunsets.
Now that Amber and Pat are back state-side, they are looking forward to spending the holidays with family and planning their upcoming wedding.
One thing that has helped me was having support from family, most of all, Pat. I do think that having Aplastic Anemia has made me a stronger person. I am confident that I can handle anything life throws at me. – Amber
All of us at Live For Today couldn’t agree more. Now that Amber and Pat are back to life as usual, we hope that the memories made on their island getaway remind them of their perseverance, positivity and provide hope for their future together.