When Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito arrived back in California, it was clear that they had completely changed their plans for the camping trip planned for their upcoming Independence Day weekend. The couple, who first met after losing their own fathers to cancer, have been making their way around the country, traveling to festivals and other events since last year.
Laundrie, who lost his father, a cancer survivor, in September 2016, said his brother calls the trip “mental warfare” as they travel across the country to different cities. But it’s been a struggle.
After losing her father to the disease last year, Petito knew that she wanted to start an event where kids could learn more about cancer before they got their first signs. Petito and Laundrie had been brainstorming ideas, with the idea to create “Camp Cancer,” a charity which would train fifth graders to teach classmates about cancer. Petito and Laundrie, who had never met, quickly connected and have been traveling together as a couple for about a year now.
As the couple have been planning their endeavors, however, a little problem has loomed over them— Laundrie’s parents have changed their travel plans due to Brian’s absence. They changed plans with another group that has since canceled their trip.
The two of them made adjustments to their travel plans last minute after they found out about the change, making the trip one that was very different than the ones they had originally planned.
In a letter on campcancer.org, Petito explained that their original trip was planned for about a month, along with learning about cancer and spreading the word. Laundrie will be with his wife all weekend, to mark the seventh year since his father passed away, and he will travel with the new group.
“We’re excited for this opportunity. It is simply going to be amazing to be with my husband (when he’s physically capable) with no one else,” Petito wrote. “It will just be a blast.”
Camp Cancer, which is run by the couple’s nonprofit Camp Cancer Foundation, provides free and low-cost cancer survivor camps for children ages 8 to 12. The couple will be spending the weekend at Camp Watson, in Kamah, Washington.
“The last year, this has been, by far, the most eventful we’ve ever had,” Petito wrote. “We have had so many opportunities to come together and help others. There have been countless meetings with potential sponsors that are finally starting to come to fruition and for us it’s been the most amazing and hard-working and inspiring year ever.
“We’ve been celebrating so many amazing new friendships with different organizations and individuals, meeting and spending time with children who have lost their parents to cancer, building people up and building a foundation for the next generation,” she added. “Just being here is really incredible, we’re just so excited and truly, that’s a lot of work, but for me personally, if we can make a difference in the lives of these children, we’re on a good path and I’m really, really excited for the future, and how far we’ve come.”
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