PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A national foundation is treating a Region 8 woman to a weekend getaway as she faces terminal lung cancer.
Patricia Slater did not attend at her home church, Commissary Church of Christ, in Paragould Sunday because the Dream Foundation granted her wish to set up a meeting with megachurch pastor Joel Osteen and attend service at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
"When I was in the hospital and wasn't able to go to church, there he was (on television) every Sunday morning waiting on me," she said.
Doctors diagnosed Slater with lung cancer in November 2010, when she her husband Allen had been married for six months. In May 2011, three days before their one-year wedding anniversary, doctors told Patricia she had one year to live.
"February 10, they took the top part of her lung out, and that's where we spent our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, in the hospital," said Allen Slater. "Then on May 23 of last year, they told her she was terminal and gave her a year, which was three days before our one-year anniversary."
Since the terminal diagnosis, Patricia said she and her husband have been traveling as much as possible while they still have time together.
"We went to Graceland. We went to Lake Michigan. We went to St. Louis," Allen said.
The Slaters said the foundation of love built by their family and church family has been an emotional anchor for them to rely on, especially church member and friend Phillip Roth. "The day she had her surgery, he was there that morning. He was there all evening, all afternoon, and into the night. He knew that I was struggling," Allen said.
Rothe said he is encouraged by the faith of the Slaters. "To come to an inner peace that she has with the diagnosis, it's something that a lot of people are never able to find. That faith in God is there every time you talk to her."
Patricia said her faith has carried her through life - as an artist when she was a teenager, as a Dean's List college student before her illness forced her to withdraw, and as a pilot. Three days after Patricia's cancer diagnosis, Allen surprised her with a chance to fly again.
"It's been many, many years since I've flown, many years. I said, 'Hey Allen, don't walk, run.' So, by that time I had figured out I was fixin' to fly."
Patricia said she is at peace with her reality. When asked if she plans to spend her last days at a hospital, her answer explained her feelings about her home, and her life.
"I'd love to stay here but if I can't, I'll be okay with that."
To visit the Dream Foundation web site, click here.
Dream Foundation Contact Information
1528 Chapala Street, Suite 304
Santa Barbara, CA 93101