Little Mary’s Hospitality House in Wellston was first started by the Fischer family in the 80’s after their daughter, Mary, died of a terminal brain tumor.
Three weeks before Mary passed away, the Fischer’s went on a family vacation to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee – saying they made memories of family bonding that would last a lifetime.
They wanted to provide a resource for other families from coast to coast to escape the harsh reality of cancer their own family faced.
Now, families from all over the country — complete strangers – are are able to come together at Little Mary’s over one bond.
“Well I still remember the day I had my blood draw and I remember the first day when everyone was rushing into the house, packing suitcases and everything,” said Eli Anglebrandt.
11-year-old Eli was diagnosed with cancer when he was 5 years old – turning him and his family’s world upside down.
“It was like my world somebody took a plate and just flipped it,” said Eli’s father, Todd.
Eli and his family, from the Detroit area, wanted the chance to escape reality.
They heard of Little Mary’s Hospitality House and decided the road trip was worth a shot.
“This is our fourth time here so apparently the shot was not in the dark,” said Eli.
Little Mary’s is a camp for families with kids battling cancer, or kids who’ve survived it.
They come to spend time together — an effort to distract them from the constant hustle that comes with cancer.
“It’s a busy, busy run around with all the appointments so when we get up here we just get a chance to check out,” Todd.
These two families just met –they were strangers.
But within a few minutes – and a few s’mores around the campfire – they’re able to instantly connect as they’re all going through the same struggle.
They enjoy activities like playing on the play ground, roaming around the campground, fishing, camping, and even a recreation room for rainy days.
Eli’s family recognizes they can’t get the months back they spent inside because of Eli’s compromised immune system.
“We felt like we were prisoners in our own home,” Todd said. “We aren’t gonna get age 6, 7, and 8 back but ya know moving forward 11 through 90 as long as we are around with Eli — we are gonna make every moment count.”
And trip after trip to Little Mary’s has brought the Anglebrandt family together.
“Now they’re just more connected because of this thing,” said Eli. “More connected I think than ever.”
Little Mary’s is located at 1580 Seaman Road, Wellston, MI 49689. To sign up for a free vacation, click .
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