LESLIE’S WEEK founder, Sandra Gunn, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, 2013. The full force of what she established for LESLIE’S WEEK came to have real meaning for her and all the women she encountered in the Anne Arundel Medical Breast Center. She met them in Anne Arundel Diagnostics and Imaging where they would wish each other luck. She met them in Pathology where tissue and blood samples were taken. She met them in the Gear-Up Workshop where they had group discussions and shared their pre-surgery hopes and fears. She met them in the Surgical Hospital Pavilion North where they sat quietly waiting to be admitted for their mastectomies. She waited with them in reception in the Medical Oncology and Radiation Center after surgery was complete. She saw them in the Plastic Surgeon's waiting room while they waited for reconstructive advice. She felt their strength and determination to prevail against the uneven odds; their willingness to endure the debilitating and disfiguring chemotherapy and radiation so they could live. She spoke to those whose cancer metastasized and spread to other body parts. In spite of their hopeless medical situation these brave women agreed to participate in uncertain clinical trials so, "...others would benefit from their participation and live".
These breast cancer women are mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, and friends. They smiled, prayed silently to themselves, and occasionally cried. Surrounded with these women and their deeply spiritual sense of hope and courage, and experiencing breast cancer herself defined LESLIE’S WEEK in a way that no other experience could. This profoundly moving experience during the winter of 2013 created an urgency and passion for LESLIE’S WEEK.
Breast cancer does not discriminate. It impacts 1 in 8 American women in their lifetime. It respects no race, religion, or economic boundary. It is a predator that strikes wherever it has opportunity. Breast cancer is expensive. It empties their bank accounts and savings; it takes away funds for education, vacations, new cars or homes. It emotionally drains a family. Husbands and children watch helplessly as the mother slowly dies. LESLIE’S WEEK gifts these families a place of peace, a place to rest, a place to Make Memories that Outlast Cancer.
LESLIE'S WEEK is now in its Sixth year. We are preparing for 2017 families. Our program is growing this year. We are expanding to Ocean City, MD and into hotel and condo resorts. We are an IRS approved 501 (c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit public charity.
Our Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer Women are chosen regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or age.
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
- Japanese Proverb