Cathy Backus, Founder and Chairwoman of Send Me On Vacation, a 501(C)(3) charity, had the vision of doing something for women who had undergone cancer treatment. She brought together travel industry professionals to contribute resorts, airlines, cruises, time and dollars to change the lives of survivors “one vacation at a time.”
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 and providing more vacations and wellness experiences to survivors.
Cathy resides in Las Vegas and Send Me On Vacation is a Nevada non-profit. Through her efforts, last year alone, Nevadans joined in a Benefit Concert “Pink in the Park” held at Boca Park, Oh Pink at Town Square and Bootini in Summerlin. These community events raised sufficient funds to send several local residents on the vacation of their dreams.
Because of her endeavors, Send Me On Vacation has awarded richly-deserved vacations to women throughout the United States and Mexico.
The women whose lives have changed for the better say it best:
“I feel how all the years of chemo has taken such a toll on my body, but seeing my family smile and happy, and being here is the best medicine ever. God is good and may He bless you and this program over and over and over. Please let women who come after me know how wonderful you all are and how precious your desire to help those of us who are under the weather – I should say by cancer. We still talk about that vacation every single day. Thank you forever and ever.”
—-Tina Bohnet, A Send Me On Vacation Recipient
“How can I ever begin to express my deep love and gratitude for each of you. You treated me like a queen. My time on the island was absolutely magnetic.”
— Raizel Weiss-Heitzer, A Send Me On Vacation Recipient
“Having the SMOV vacation trip planned months ago was the best medicine, because it allowed me to be beautifully distracted in the middle of a personal crisis. Taking the trip at this phase of “the process” was a godsend….”
—Yolanda Muller, A Send Me On Vacation Recipient
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 to support a medical mission and purchasing a mammogram machine for the residents of Abaco and its sister island, The Moores in the Bahamas. Her energy is boundless and her mind is creative in coming up with tremendous fundraising ideas to support her charitable dreams.
This last year, through Cathy’s efforts, SMOV launched a wellness program for survivors called the Goodness Experience. This program provides retreats, cookbooks, resource guides, exercise programs, telemedicine and much more for these transitioning women.
Mrs. Backus has brought her synergistic charm to engage many local Nevadans to join in the cause. These are famous vocalists, authors, politicians, business owners, and community leaders. The beauty of Cathy is that she has the ability to energize people from every walk of life throughout the State of Nevada and truly is a woman to be watched in 2014.