Foundation gives Regina mother with Stage 4 cancer the family trip of a lifetime

Amber Heller found a lump in her breast just over a year ago. After some scans and doctor's appointments, the mother of three young boys was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which had spread to her liver.

Heller said so much was running through her mind after her diagnosis.

"It's hard to describe, but [I felt] fear and devastation," she said on CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition

"Every mom dreams of watching their children grow up and getting them through school and seeing them get married and have their own children."

Even before she had her sons — now aged seven, five and two — she had dreamed of taking her future kids to Disney World. The diagnosis put that goal — and others — in jeopardy.

The generosity of a local foundation allowed her to cross Disney World off the list.

Submitted by Amber Heller

Shine On Foundation offers financial help to mothers with advanced cancer diagnoses, either by providing money for treatments that aren't covered or available in Saskatchewan or by gifting trips. Until the end of December, an anonymous donor is matching donations up to a total of $100,000. 

Heller and a large group of family did a day at DisneyWorld, a day at Universal Studios and then a cruise. She said Shine On supported her immediate family, but in all, there were 19 of them all together who made the trip. 

"It was amazing," she said. "Just having all of us together, my kids just loved it."

Heller said the standout was watching her kids have the experience. 

"Just seeing the smile on their faces, just having those memories, those pictures that they'll be able to look back on and see that we did this together."

Submitted by Amber Heller