I will forever be grateful for Little Pink Houses of Hope. They shined a light during my family’s darkest time.
2022 Scholarship Winner
My name is Brextan Tinnell. I am now a senior at Henderson County High School, in Henderson, Kentucky. I attended the Little Pink Houses of Hope retreat in June of 2019. My family and I stayed in a log cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia. It was the first time we had been to the mountains together. My brother, Hutson, and my sister, Madyn, couldn’t stop talking about wanting to see a bear, and I am very glad to be able to say we didn’t. It was a place filled with gorgeous sunsets and extremely kind people. One day, I hope to own a cabin there just to relive the memories that I will undoubtedly never forget.
I had learned two major things from the LPHoH. The first thing was that I am nowhere near alone. Having a parent or loved one with cancer feels almost as if you’re holding your breath, waiting to exhale, but you can’t, so you keep it all in. It’s appointment after appointment, chemo after chemo, surgery after surgery, scan after scan, the cycle never ends. It feels like you are just waiting for the next bump in the road, so you don’t bother to find relief. During this retreat, I met other kids near age who lived or were living the same exact life. We quickly realized that we could confide in each other to share our personal stories of providing care for our moms and how we dealt with the emotional toll it put on us. The other thing that I learned, is that these women are warriors. They could accomplish anything after experiencing cancer’s touch. Everything else seemed like a blessing.
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 14 years old. I will never forget the day they told me. It was the first semester of my freshman year in high school. I had just gotten into the third row of my mom’s 2017 charcoal Chrysler Pacifica. It was silent, and I could see the deeply saddened look on her face. Staring at her through her rearview mirror and her back at me, I already knew. She didn’t even need to say anything. Right then and there, I knew that my life would change forever. Being the oldest sibling by a pretty large gap, you find the need to protect your siblings like a mother, but this took it to a whole new level. It was my turn to help protect my mother. I would never let them see my cry, punch, kick, or scream to God why he placed this curse on my family. It took me a long time to accept that it was completely out of my control.
It may sound cliche, but everything I do is for my mom. She is hands down my best friend. My mom gave up everything for me and my family. She couldn’t finish college because
she had to be a mother. I am not only going to college not only for myself but to accomplish the things she didn’t have the chance to.
I want to go to college and earn a degree in accounting and finance. I want to be able to help organizations raise money for significant causes at hopefully significant rates. My mom’s favorite inspirational quote regarding her cancer was “(Be)lieve (the)re is (hope) for a cure.” I’m done believing. My goal is to achieve. I am the CEO of our student-led bank at my high school. One of my first tasks was designing and conducting sales during October. We started by donating our earnings to Breast Cancer Research. In the following month, I led another fundraiser called Turkey of the Year. We raised $11,600 for the voluntary information center in my hometown and adopted about 65 kids in need for Christmas. With the rest of the money, we donated to the tornado relief fund here in Kentucky after the devastating one recently in Mayfield and Dawson Springs, along with providing ham dinners for the volunteers cleaning and restoring the towns. I have a passion for helping incredible organizations like these so one day, I want to help them soar.
There is no doubt in my mind that I want to change the world for the better. It was the kindness of the volunteers from our retreat that inspired me to want to help the ones who need it the most. I will forever be grateful for Little Pink Houses of Hope. They shined a light during my family’s darkest time. I hope that someday I can help them by even just a fraction of how they helped me and my family.