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The one hundred honoree: Sandra Gunn

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Sandra Gunn

Mass General Giving

Leslie Twohig, suffering from Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, asked for a kiss and a hug from her good friend Sandra Gunn, knowing that it would be the last time they ever saw each other. She passed away on April 2, 2011 at just 49 years old.

On April 3, 2011, Sandra honored Leslie’s memory by welcoming a family whose mother was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer to her vacation home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

On January 14, 2013, Sandra herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. Until that time, she did not realize that what began as a kind gesture in Leslie’s memory would become her passion. LESLIE’S WEEK became a certified 501(c)(3) in February 2014.

The mission of LESLIE’S WEEK is to provide families an all-expenses-paid week in an environment where they can build memories that will outlast cancer. Families arrive to a five-star mountain cabin, a kitchen stocked with their favorite groceries, and receive tickets to local entertainment venues like Dollywood.

LESLIE’S WEEK began with one family in coordination with the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Leslie received treatment. In 2014, the Anne Arundel DeCesaris Cancer Institute began nominating candidates for a LESLIE’S WEEK vacation. In 2015, LESLIE’S WEEK expanded to include additional partners: Gilda’s Club Nashville and the Mass General Cancer Center.

“This past year has been a whirlwind for me and my family,” says beneficiary Renee Mundell. “I had three surgeries within 10 months. LESLIE’S WEEK enabled us to get away for a whole week without worrying about doctors, appointments and treatments. We made some wonderful memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”