Raelene Lauer was 32 years old when she passed away on August 3, 2021 from her 10 month battle with breast cancer. To carry on her legacy of enjoying small getaways and relaxing moments, Rae of Hope was established. Rae of Hope is a YASU program that provides free daylong or overnight respite trips to our members.

There is an application process, and the applicant works with a YASU staff member or volunteer to coordinate his or her trip.

Rae of Hope Recipients

Juan

September 24-25, 2022
Hotel Washington in Washington, D.C.
Juan and his partner Zach
Overnight stay at the hotel and Juan and Zach got spa services at hotel spa

“Even though I’ve been finished with treatment for a few months, I still find myself easily exhausted and overwhelmed by day-to-day responsibilities. This trip was the perfect opportunity to relax, have fun, and not feel any sense of obligation to do anything but enjoy myself. I’m very grateful to YASU for being so generous in giving me and my partner a much-needed pause.”

Danielle

October 28-30, 2022
Splash Lagoon, Erie, PA
Danielle, Michael, Peggy, Nathaniel, Madilynn, & Riley
Two nights at Hawthorn Suites and two days of passes to Splash lagoon with dining

“We planned our getaway on a week that I did not receive chemotherapy but unfortunately leading up to our trip, I ended up in the hospital for a few days needing a blood transfusion. Thankfully come Friday I felt great and ready to go! It was very simple for me to choose Splash Lagoon as I do everything with my family and kids. After requesting a new room at Hawthorne Inn and Suites, it was everything I could imagine! Two bedrooms with living room and kitchen, fireplace, and 2 very big jacuzzi tubs.

The hotel is attached to the water park so we did not have to leave the hotel once there. I get cold very easily and the 84* climate inside the water park felt amazing. There was so much there for the kids to enjoy and us adults too. Half way through the day Saturday, I was getting worn down but just sitting there in the water watching my kids enjoy themselves just warmed my heart. A little while later, I felt horrible and unfortunately ended up in bed from 430 pm til Sunday morning. Thankfully my husband and mom took the kids out to dinner and to the arcade for a while to enjoy themselves.

We had tickets for the water park Sunday but there was no way I could have gone. Thankfully the park was able to transfer the tickets onto another day trip! Now that the trip is over, I feel very thankful that we got to have that time together to make new memories. I am very blessed to have found this group and beyond thankful for this opportunity!”

Pamela

October 29-30, 2022
Bedford Springs
Pamela with husband Adam and dog Hazel
Overnight stay at Bedford Springs, massage, and dining

“After partying too hard in heels at Wigout Friday night, the whole crew ventured out to Bedford Springs Saturday morning… with me sporting my knee brace and crutches. A gorgeous rolling property greeted us, and I felt instantly at peace. After checking in, the staff there was super accommodating of my unexpected mobility restrictions. We had a walking haunted history tour booked for that night. They generously provided me with a house wheelchair to scoot around, so I didn’t have to miss it or struggle to walk it with crutches.

Dinner was by far the fanciest affair Adam and I have ever been treated to, and the facilities, including the breathtaking indoor pool and spa, were beautiful. Our room had an open-air walkout porch to relax on with a great vantage point of the front property. I was able to enjoy it while doing some schoolwork with a view in our downtime yesterday, so I stayed caught up in my homework.”

Merissa

November 13-15, 2022
Gralehaus Bed & Beverage – Louisville, KY
Merissa and husband Jake
Local brewery tour, couples massages, tour of a historic local sanatorium, stayed in a local bed and breakfast (“bed and beverage”)

“Where to even begin? My Rae of Hope trip went above and beyond my expectations. Lindsey and Stephanie were both great when it came to working with me/my schedule/my preferences for the trip. I originally submitted 3 different trip locations but in the end I was easily able to narrow it down to just one. I was recommended by a friend to the specific place we stayed at and it was all around fantastic. The room made me feel like royalty – I used the HUGE soaking tub multiple times during our stay. It was also easy for me to scope out specific activities to do at my trip location.

My husband and I both LOVE exploring so the brewery tour was right up our alley. We had only done a professional couples massage once before, about 4 and a half years back, on our honeymoon. We both loved it so much then that I figured it could be a much needed break for our bodies this time too. The historic sanatorium tour was SO spooky and educational and just really tapped into my lifelong learning needs 🙂 I am a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor and was diagnosed back in spring 2017 at the age of 24. Since then, I have done small things here and there to celebrate my remission anniversaries but I knew with this year being the big 5 year mark I wanted to go bigger. That was where this trip fit in perfectly – I was able to schedule it so that the last day of the trip fell on my exact remission anniversary date <3 It helped me take time for myself and reflect how the last five years have changed me in terms of the roller coaster of a journey it has been. When I knew I wanted to celebrate, I looked at my finances and just could not budget a full on party.

Having the Rae of Hope trip funded made my dreams of celebrating become an option once again. Afterwards, I felt like I could conquer my everyday stressors better. Especially with my yearly oncology appointment coming up, I was really dreading it before this trip. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EACH AND EVERY DONOR OUT THERE <333″

Erin

November 19-20, 2022
Newport, Rhode Island: The Newport Mansions Tours (The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House), Hotel Viking, The Reef Restaurant

“My Rae of Hope trip was perfect from start to finish. Newport, Rhode Island, is one of my favorite New England towns! Lindsey was able to put the trip together incredibly fast, which I appreciated so much. It was so helpful to escape reality for a moment and just live without worry.

While touring the Newport mansions, I was transformed into the Gilded Age and learned so much about history; followed by a fantastic dinner at The Reef in the Newport Marina and a stay at Hotel Viking. This trip was so helpful because it allowed me to get some much-needed rest and relaxation; plus it was chock-full of adventures which filled my cup. Before I left, I took time to sit by the ocean and reflect on everything. This trip provided so much clarity for me and was a reminder of how important it is to take care of myself.

Throughout my cancer journey, I’ve always had chaos; scheduling appointments, endless bloodwork, driving myself to surgery, etc. It felt so good to be taken care of like this and have a reminder that life’s ocean waves will not be rocky forever. Thanks to YASU for putting together this magical trip for me!”

Tom

November 29, 2022
Tom with sister Elizabeth
Dinner and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game

“It was great to experience my first NHL hockey game. It was a relief to get out of the house, and not worry about house work or upcoming doctor appointments. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the sponsors who allowed this respite experience to be available to me.”

Jamika

September 3, 2022
Usher Las Vegas Residency

“My request was somewhat last minute, but Lindsey did everything she could to make sure I had the best possible experience. The seats were great, the energy was electric, and I got to see one of my favorite artists put on an amazing show! A quick trip to Vegas was the last summer vacation I had planned for myself before work gets really hectic for me, so being able to share this experience with my boyfriend as a “thank you for putting up with me” excursion was the perfect way to end our trip. Thank you to Rae of Hope & YASU for creating a variety of opportunities for relaxation to forget the troubles of what it means to be a survivor.”

Christine

August 18-19, 2022
Bedford Springs Resort

“I received this respite trip at the time when I needed it the most. I have been dealing with chronic health issues for years that were the result of the long-term effects of the chemotherapy and radiation I received from battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma three times. I have been pushing through pain and dealing with other very stressful events for years. I reached a point where I could no longer function because I ran out of reserves.

Rae of Hope was able to provide me with an overnight stay and spa services at Bedford Springs. I was in such a low place that I could not take care of myself, and desperately needed to have someone take care of me, even if briefly. The total body exfoliation and massage that I received made me feel relaxed for the first time in over a year. The massage also helped to release emotions that I had been storing in my body with tension for a long time.

Upon return from this respite trip, I had  enough energy restored that I was able to start implementing the self care strategies that needed to be implemented for me to heal. The effects of treatment change our bodies forever. Some of us deal daily with pain, fatigue, cognitive changes, and many other side effects from treatment that don’t go away when treatment ends. These trips are so vital in helping those of us in treatment, as well as those of us who are dealing with the long-term effects of treatment, to feel a ray of hope that things won’t always feel the way they feel right now.”

Megen

August 4-7, 2022
The Inn at Christmas Place, Pigeon Forge, TN

“We loved our experience at The Inn at Christmas Place! First things first, the whole hotel is decorated for Christmas all year round (which we enjoy since we love this holiday), and there were even visits with Santa every day – an added bonus for children! More specifically, my family wanted to have an enjoyable trip, which allowed us to get away and just relax together.

These are things that we usually never get to do in usual life due to my cancer treatments and appointments. We loved swimming in the hotel pool, going out to local restaurants, and having cookies every night from Mrs. Claus. We also took a 20 minute trip to Gatlinburg to experience the Wild Bear Falls Water Park for another swimming adventure.

I am so grateful to YASU for providing Rae of Hope to cancer survivors. It was such a relief to be with my husband and my son; all we wanted was to spend time together without having to think about cancer, and I couldn’t have done it without YASU’s support.”

Fannie

July 22-23, 2022
Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos, PA

Fannie was able to enjoy an overnight stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos with her family. They were able to spend the day at the waterpark and also enjoy bowling and the arcade.

“Our respite trip was a relaxing and fun day for my family and I. We didn’t think about anything else but spending time as a family and enjoying a day of fun activities! We all felt tired on the ride home but a good tired and my kids want to go back already!”

Shannon

July, 19-20, 2022
New Kids on the Block Concert

Shannon, 40, a Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer survivor, was able to take a friend to dinner and enjoy VIP tickets to the New Kids on the Block Concert. After she was joined by children to spend the night at The Cambria Hotel.

“Being able to go to the NKOTB concert helped me forget all my worries for a night and just be myself with my friend Terra. Not having to worry about the money to pay for it all, and leaving everything up to Yasu and Rae of Hope, was wonderful! I felt so happy from the whole experience and the happiness is lasting especially when thinking about it and looking back with the pictures. I don’t think I could stop smiling the whole time!”

Jenney

June 27-28, 2022
Alderbrook Resort and Spa
Overnight stay at the resort, couples massage and dinner

“It was amazing! We happened to stay the night and there was also a wedding. So on top of the already amazing experience we got to enjoy watching an outdoor wedding, wedding music and a fireworks show. The drive out there alone was stunning, and I probably would have been satisfied just to do that. But I could not believe it when we walked into the room. The water view was phenomenal! The room had a huge soaking tub (I may have taken 2 baths over the course of our overnight). The bed was so comfortable. The massage was the best I’ve ever experienced. My husband (who is not actually a fan of massages) agreed that it was amazing. The food was the best I’ve ever tasted.

It was so nice just to have no responsibilities but spending time together. We were able to take several hikes and reconnect with nature and each other. We were able to rest and recharge. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I feel so blessed to have been able to participate in it. I felt ready to take on the world again once it was over. Actually, that’s not true. I was ready to move in there and stay forever, but knowing I needed to get back to reality, I was ready. It was so amazing to just be, and not forced to deal with the realities of my everyday life as it is now. I am telling every young adult with cancer I know about YASU and the Rae of Hope respite program. It is something everyone should get a chance to experience.”

Sean

April 16-18, 2022
Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Two nights in an oceanfront room

“A million thanks to YASU and the Rae of Hope Foundation for helping to fulfill a year-long dream.

Last year, while I was stuck at home and preparing for a stem cell transplant, my partner and I daydreamed about staying at the beautiful Oak Bay Beach Hotel on Vancouver Island, celebrating the end of a long and difficult chapter with the beginning of a newer, brighter one.

Normally, we would’ve passed on the opportunity due to it being out of our price range…but after sharing the idea with our friends at YASU, they helped us book two free nights with the hotel’s best ocean view. In these two special days, I reconnected with nature, with travel, and with finding home in new places…even better, the experience opened my heart and mind to the new life I’ve spent years yearning for. The mineral baths and spa treatments didn’t hurt either!

If you’re a current or former patient dreaming of a trip or experience that would bring hope, joy, relief, or a simple boost of energy, don’t hesitate to reach out to this impactful organization. The highlight of our year, no doubt!”

Ashley

March 5-6, 2022
Bedford Springs Resort and Spa
Overnight stay, dinner, massage and pedicures

“Knowing I had a weekend away at a spa with my best friend lifted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. This spa/resort has everything covered you could possibly think of! From our delicious lunch to our luxurious room, everything was perfect. The spa treatments were such a treat and not only did I feel completely at peace, but the massage relieved all of my chronic pain. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me that I will never forget! We both smiled all weekend long!”

Tara

July 5-6, 2022
The Grand Resort
Overnight stay at the resort, massage, facial, manicure and pedicure and dinner

“Knowing I had a weekend away at a spa with my best friend lifted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. This spa/resort has everything covered you could possibly think of! From our delicious lunch to our luxurious room, everything was perfect. The spa treatments were such a treat and not only did I feel completely at peace, but the massage relieved all of my chronic pain. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me that I will never forget! We both smiled all weekend long!”

Kris

March 11-13, 2022
Buhl Mansion Guesthouse and Spa
Two-night stay and massage

“It was just a much needed break. It was nice to get away for the weekend and just be able to literally take a break from cancer and the stressors that come with it.”

Kelly

March 15-22, 2022
Stay in Siesta Keys, FL

“Our couples retreat away was refreshing, restful, and peaceful. My hubby and I got to reconnect as a couple as we walked the beach, talking and laughing. We got to forget about cancer and the daily pressures we experience. We are forever thankful for this opportunity ❤️”

Jamie

December 3-4, 2021
Overnight stay at the Grand Resort & Spa

Jamie, a YA (young adult) Breast Cancer Survivor said, “I had an amazing time away! It was much needed. I had a glorious massage that made me feel really relaxed. I finally enjoyed a stress free weekend with my boyfriend David, thanks to YASU.”

Lauren

Gift certificate to furnish new doll house

Lauren Rogus, a 22 year old, is coping with 2 cancers simultaneously; one of which is extremely rare. As a 22 year old woman still living with her parents, staying home due to her illness and Covid, she wasn’t able to venture out for a Rae of Hope experience. Instead we brought respite to her by sponsoring a gift certificate for her to furnish a new doll house she was gifted.

“Oh my goodness! I was so surprised when I opened up a HUGE gift certificate to the dollhouse store! I started crying. I felt so blessed! Thank you so much!!! I can’t thank you all enough for such a special gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was so shocked I became speechless! I can’t wait to start furnishing my doll house! I appreciate YASU’s support and for being there for me. It makes me feel less alone, especially since Covid restricts me from leaving the house.”

Kasandra

November 22-23, 2021
Overnight stay at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Kasandra, her husband and their 2 sons had the best time and a much needed break from life as a stage 4 YA Breast Cancer Survivor: “The Rae of Hope respite day experience was amazing! Leading to the experience, my family and I were exhausted from all that is tied to my metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and struggled to break away from the day-to-day repetitive tasks that brought us little joy. I yearned for something to get us out of our challenging routine and help us appreciate our time together as a family.

My respite day helped change our mindset and let us concentrate on what is most important: making memories together as a family. We enjoyed pool time, fireworks, thrilling rides, and even a dance party while at Disney.

As a mother, I was able to see the amazement and excitement that Disney brought my children, which was incredibly heartwarming, but more importantly, it helped my husband and me find a better balance in our day-to-day lives. While we still accomplish our daily responsibilities, we are much more conscious of planning special family time to better appreciate our moments together and create joyful memories that will last a lifetime.”

Jenelle

February 20-22, 2022
Overnight stay at the Kalahari Indoor Water Park

Jenelle didn’t let Breast Cancer stop her from making some amazing memories with her family of 6 at the Kalahari Indoor Water Park! Jenelle said, “It was amazing and very much needed as I have recently been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. It was just what we needed. It allowed us to have fun together again and was a real pick me up for us all! We feel so blessed and are so thankful for the Rae of Hope program, making this happen for us.”

Nicole

January 3, 2022
Steelers game and overnight stay at the Omni William Penn Hotel

Nikki, a 2x Breast Cancer Survivor and die hard Steelers fan attended Big Ben’s last home game with her husband and said, “I’d like to sincerely thank Young Adult Survivors United and the Rae of Hope program for this amazing opportunity!! I’m a Steeler through and through and to witness this moment is something I can’t put into words! Most epic & special game I’ve ever attended!

The Omni William Penn Hotel was nothing short of incredible! To embrace my team and the city without having to rush home, a feeling I can’t describe! I am so grateful for this opportunity and everyone that made it possible for me and my husband to enjoy this night watching my favorite team!!

It was such an amazing moment that I can’t put into words! This was definitely an opportunity of a lifetime, thank you so much again for making it happen!”

Hilary

February 11-12, 2022
Overnight stay at Bedford Springs, PA

Hilary and her partner soaked up R&R with massages and dinner at the historic Bedford Springs! She put all the stress that stage 3 Renal Cell Carcinoma has caused and said, “I’m lucky to find support in an organization like YASU, who “gets it.” They recently sent me on a weekend trip to Bedford Springs with my partner. I had thought that it was going to be an opportunity to forget about my journey, but instead I took time to remember. To think. To feel. To process.

While there I had a bath ritual and massage at the spa, attended a meditation class, walked through nature and drank from the natural springs. I had vouchers to get free coffee in the mornings and YASU treated my partner and I to a fabulous dinner in the crystal room. Instead of escaping, I realized that it’s okay to be a different person today than I was before cancer. That’s a vital part of *my* journey in this lifetime. I’ll constantly be in a state of transformation, of processing, of mourning.

YASU gave me a chance to reflect and realize that “surviving” cancer is a never ending journey, and that’s okay. I’m forever grateful to YASU, everyone who works there and everyone I’ve met through the organization!”

Gillian

February 18-19, 2022
Dinner, Facials, and
Overnight Stay at the Le MĂ©ridien Columbus, The Joseph

Gillian and her best friend had the best time unwinding at this overnight respite trip! After overcoming breast cancer and still working a full-time job while caring for her son, Gillian needed and deserved this break. She said, “This trip was such a wonderful way to unwind and feel pampered for a weekend. I truly had forgotten what self care was for a while, and it was such an amazing and much needed weekend away with my best friend! It’s been so hard to get together since the pandemic hit while I was going through cancer treatment, and this is just what we both needed to be able to reconnect and relax!”

Mandy

February 2, 2022
Hidden Valley Ski Resort

Mandy, a Breast Cancer Survivor is likely the biggest fan of skiing among anyone you know! Thanks to Rae of Hope, she spent an entire day on the slopes and said, “I cannot thank YASU, Rae of Hope & Rae’s family enough for this amazing gift. I’m still in some ways trying to process the overwhelming generosity.

I started skiing when I was 5 years old, my most favorite place has always been in the mountains. Since I was diagnosed with TNBC (Triple Negative Breast Cancer) at 37 in 2017, I haven’t done much skiing. Last season I could literally hear the mountains calling my name. I put on the most uncomfortable boots in the world, stepped into those bindings and away I went. It was like riding a bike, pure joy and peace.

Going into this season I didn’t make any commitments, season pass-wise, as I was caring for my elderly uncle. I lost him on Thanksgiving morning 2021. Those mountains were speaking much louder now…

I didn’t ask for much help during cancer treatments/surgery/post surgery and years afterwards. Partially because when you’re in it, you’re just focused on fighting your ass off and you have no idea what you need, want, or what your body will allow you to have. But Rae of Hope spoke to me…just like those mountains.I was friends with Raelene and still to this day miss her terribly. I miss her smile, laugh and awesome text messages. I needed an escape, I needed a way to process, grieve, be alone and just BE. I literally heard Rae’s voice telling me to go to my happy place, now it may not have been her most ideal spot since it wasn’t poolside, but layering up is my idea of bliss!

I anxiously applied for a season pass to ski at Hidden Valley…remember I’m not that great at asking for things! Snow started to finally fall after the first of the year. I cried when I got the email letting me know that a pass was waiting for me at the office. And I’ve been loving it ever since!

There are few things that I love more than being on a ski lift, hearing the skis glide below you, checking out your next run and what side to come down, the utter beauty of Mother Nature. I love the peace in the mountains and how everything disappears once I’m locked into those bindings. It makes my soul smile and fills my heart with joy. I come home sore, exhausted and alive every single time. It feels like a new part of me awakes with each run.

Thank you Rae…thank you for that last message.”

Denelle

January 20, 2022
Spa Day at the Sirius Day Spa

Denelle is a breast cancer survivor whose world is devoted to her young daughter. As you know, parents need a break; especially after all she’s endured as a YA cancer survivor! Denelle released every ounce of stress with a massage, facial, and hair done at the Sirius Day Spa.

After her experience she said, “Getting my spa treatment was very special. After having major anxiety about finding another lump in my breast, I really needed some self-care and relaxation. It has been a hard time. I realized while on the table that I never get much quiet time, not just in life… but in my HEAD. It’s always so chaotic and stressed. It was amazing to unwind, meditate, and feel rejuvenated. Thank you to everyone involved!! xo.”

Elizabeth

December 14, 2021
Home Sweet Home

Lizzie, an Osteosarcoma survivor chose to spend quality time at home with her significant other and daughter as she received Christmas gifts for her family, and sweaters to keep her warm throughout winter. Lizzie has battled the trials and tribulations caused by cancer with a heart of gold and strength like steel.

She said, “Rae of hope is an amazing program that helped me make a holiday possible for my family and my girl Ruby to have a beautiful Christmas morning. I felt very grateful and happy that Rae of HOPE helped make this Christmas so memorable. Thank you so much!”