Cathy Backus, Founder and President of Send Me On Vacation (SMOV), a 501(C)(3) charity, had the vision of using the concept of vacation rejuvenation to support emotional healing for breast cancer survivors who had recently undergone treatment after her best friend battled breast cancer for the second time. She brings together travel industry professionals to contribute accommodations, airlines, cruises, and dollars to change the lives of survivors.
Mrs. Backus is Vice President of VacationGuard, a travel insurance company based in Bellevue, Washington. Wherever her business takes her, she takes SMOV along for the ride in recruiting more and more sponsors to provide more vacations and wellness experiences to survivors.
In 2015, Send Me On Vacation raised 100% of all donations through events in Canada, Mexico and the United States. These events and resources have raised sufficient funds to send over 300 survivors on healing vacations in 5 years. Because of her endeavors, Send Me On Vacation has awarded richly-deserved vacations to women throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Bermuda.
Not only has Cathy brought this homegrown charity to national prominence in the last three years, but she has engaged in many other philanthropic endeavors as well….from founding a “collegeship” program for Girls Inc in Harlem, New York providing the opportunity for smart, bold and strong inner-city girls to go away to college …. to raising funds and orchestrating medical missions in the Bahamas. Her efforts funded the purchase a mammogram machine for the residents of Abaco, Bahamas. Cathy’s energy is boundless and her mind is creative in coming up with tremendous fundraising ideas to support her charitable dreams.
The beauty of Cathy is that she has the ability to energize people from every walk of life throughout North America and truly is a woman who makes a difference in lives of survivors striving to become thrivers.
Leland Eugene (Gene) Backus is a native Nevadan and graduate of UCLA School of Law. He has been chief trial counsel or regional counsel on some of the largest complex cases in the country from the MGM Fire Litigation where he was appointed Liaison Counsel to Agent Orange, asbestos, Dupont Hotel Fire Litigation, Pepcon Plant Explosion, Bone Screw Litigation, tobacco, diet drug and other medical/pharmaceutical complex and class action litigation.
When asked what he specializes in, his answer is often the “complex and ugly.” He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for Nevada and the Mountain States. His law firm, Backus-Carranza Burden represents hotel, construction, health care, real estate, and insurance clientele.
Mr. Backus is an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association in complex construction and commercial matters and has been selected as panel chairman in many large-scale disputes. He has authored several articles in the field of litigation, including ABA survey publications on pharmaceuticals and medical device litigation issues. Not only has he educated others in healthcare law and products liability internationally, he has lectured in construction law at the national level at both the esteemed Super-conference and the ABA Forum for the Construction Industry. He has helped educate judges and lawyers on civil rule practice; his peers refer to him as a “lawyer’s lawyer.”
Ms. Sheehy is Chief Operation Officer of iMDirect Marketing and Co-Founder of All Digital Rewards. She has over 20 years of experience and is recognized as an industry leader in the development, execution and management of B2C direct response marketing campaigns. Her innate ability to dissect complex business flows and her passion for emerging technologies allows her to develop successful acquisition and retention systems for her customers.
She has served on many boards at the executive level that supports youth development, cancer survivors, and commerce. In the past, she has volunteered as a youth soccer and basketball coach for close to a decade. She is a proud mother of three adult sons. She enjoys sharing great wine with friends, reading, hiking, traveling, cross fit, boating, and cycling. She resides with her family and three dogs in Phoenix, AZ.
Ms. Horwitz is a two-time breast cancer survivor and the inspiration behind Send Me On Vacation. Cathy Backus and Pam became fast friends over 29 years ago when they instantly bonded over their love of travel and family.
As well as being a Board Member, Pam is the Chair of the Survivor Committee for SMOV. This position evokes special bonds with the survivors blessed by Send Me On Vacation and having someone there who understands what it means to be a survivor is a crucial part of the recovery process.
Pam helps them to understand life after treatment, before getting a vacation of a lifetime. She is passionate about yoga, holistic healing, clean eating and the power of positive thinking which all play a part in brightening the future life of a survivor.
Mrs. Shaw is Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Director of the Charleston Hypnosis Center located in South Carolina. She is also a Certified Master Trainer in Clinical Hypnosis and Guided Imagery and the Official Hypnotherapist for Charleston’s Mix96 Radio. Having conducted over 50,000 hours of one-on-one sessions and group workshops, she is a leading authority on personal development, stress management, and peak performance.
Mrs. Shaw is the creator of “The Mermaid’s Journey,” an experiential workshop developed for SMOV breast cancer survivors to provide them self-help tools for emotional healing and mental resilience which she believes is an essential skill set for minimizing the role stress plays on healing, health, and immunity, as well as our ability to live to our fullest potential. Mrs. Shaw believes that breast cancer survivors can turn their biggest challenge into their most profound gift to the world by learning to actively foster their own emotional fitness and, thus, become role models in their circles of influence.
Paul Mattimoe joined the board of travel & tourism in 2017 to provide relationship building, knowledge and expertise that will assist to continue to grow SMOV’s global footprint as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that improves the lives of breast cancer survivor’s with healing vacation experiences around the world after battling cancer.
Mattimoe also participates as an Advisory Board Member for Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers (C.A.R.E.); board member of Canadian Vacation Ownership Association; a member of the Membership Committee for American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and provides media sponsorship to almost all major industry conferences and events, plus support for several other charities and charitable events.
Mattimoe has been involved in the vacation ownership industry for 23 years. After working his way from sales representative to Project Director spanning small developments to multi-resort groups throughout Europe and Asia, he has spent the last 15 years running his own companies which have had a significant impact on the industry.
Perspective Group is renowned for publishing Perspective Magazine, the leading vacation ownership trade publication globally since 2005, and the GNEX Conference, a high-end industry leaders conference launched in 2011 that is responsible for facilitating many new business relationships and some particularly powerful strategic alliances.
INTUITION Brand Marketing, which launched in 2012 provides innovative solutions for sales and marketing, customer engagement and reputation management.
Certified Life and Career Coach, business owner and cancer mom blogger, Heidi Lamprecht was diagnosed with cancer at a young age with two small children. She understands first hand the negative affects a cancer diagnosis has on each person and the devastating impact on family dynamics.
From these experiences, she has pledged to make her cause her career and has recently partnered with the Jefferson County Healthcare Oncology and Surgery to provide immediate coaching with tangible tools and resources to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
A licensed K- 8 teacher,and Healing Strong Facilitator and a previous ESL educator, Heidi continues to thrive and heal in her journey through providing one-on-one coaching and creating curriculum to help guide other survivors.
She balances life with her inspiring and insightfully blog, www.happilyeveraftercancer.com where she shares her experiences through the breast cancer journey.
She is also on the SMOV Survivor Advisory board and Vacation Champion.