BURLINGTON, N.C. – When Rosa Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, she knew there had to be another side to all the hardship.

“Although this was frightening to me, I knew that there had to be another side,” Smith shared in an interview.

Little Pink Houses of Hope, a non-profit in Burlington, focuses on giving families an opportunity to see that other side through all-paid week-long retreats.

For some, these are the last memories the families can make together, says Director of Technology, Amy Matthews, who is a breast cancer survivor herself.

“There's always something good amongst all the bad that can be happening to you and your world, or whatever, there's always something good, and that sort of helps us remind families to focus on that,” said Matthews, who is a breast cancer survivor self.

After attending a retreat in 2014, Smith and her husband Roger decided to make a difference and help the people that changed her perspective on what having breast cancer means.

“It took such a burden off after going through chemotherapy treatments for weeks on end and then you go on this trip and it's like heaven,” Smith said.

Once she regained her health, Smith knocked on the organization's door to become a trained 'Volun-Star' with Little Pink.

“There was no question in my mind once I felt healthy again that I wanted to be a part of this,” Smith mentions.

So far, she's volunteered at six different retreats helping participants navigate and enjoy their time away from all the chemo, radiation and sickness.

Smith's husband became overwhelmed remembering what he and his wife experienced when she was ill, since the couple are empty-nesters and dealt with it on their own.

“It's sort of hard to talk about because it was a hard time for her and me,” he said. “It's just me and her.”

Matthews explained that there are many organizations that serve breast cancer patients and victims, but that this one makes sure the family feels served.

“We're not curing cancer, we're not like, you know, 'X number of people lived because of this,' but we know that we've changed lives,” Matthews said. “And even if it's just one life, I mean, it's worth it.”

The 2018 application for retreats is now open at www.littlepink.org/retreatapplication/.

Matthews said the success of the non-profit depends on private donors. If you'd like to donate to this cause visit www.littlepink.org/make-a-donation/, or simply volunteer at www.littlepink.org/volunteer/.

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