~Shared by Tammy Compton
Eleven-year-old Nicholas Villani is all smiles as he shows off his latest winnings: 2 medals won at Woodloch, hockey silver and wiffle ball gold. "I love it," he says of his first trip to Woodloch. "Heaven; we're in heaven." The Poconos resort has proven to be a great getaway for the West Babylon, New York family.
The Villanis have been through a lot lately.
Mom, Joan, has fought her way back from stage-3 breast cancer - a January 7, 2011
diagnosis requiring three surgeries, four chemo treatments, and steroid therapy. Treatments have left her with neuropathy. "You're never the same. It's a totally
different person (who remains). Every single thing in your body changes," she says. Her driver's license depicts a blonde-headed woman with straight hair. Joan laughs as she points to her now curly locks of silvery gray. "You gotta fight the fight. It's a tough journey, but you gotta fight the fight," Joan says.
"Attitude is everything," says young Nicholas. "You can't give up."
"Positive, positive, positive," says husband Joseph. "You are what you think. She's a strong woman, just a strong person," he says of his wife. Joseph is proud of the woman at his side.
Even while undergoing treatment, she was still there for her family, even driving their son to soccer practice.
"She's a trooper; when I was bored, she would always do something with me," Nicholas said. Even when she was sick, Joan mustered the energy to play soccer with her son.
You see, the Villanis have learned to squeeze every moment out of life.
Unshed tears in his eyes, Mr. Villani says, "We don't take it day by day. We take it minute by minute. Every minute is a beautiful bloom - like a flower. And they're precious. They're a gift."
Spending time with loved ones is what Woodloch is all about.
The Villanis say Woodloch has afforded them a chance to relax and enjoy one another. "It's so relaxing. It's so nice. I don't have to worry about cooking," laughs Joan. "Nothing is out of order. Everything is just so clean and I'm a clean fanatic."
"It's just always flowing so nice here," Joseph says.
"A lot of fun things" to do, says Nicholas, excited about the daily activities.
Halfway through their stay, Joan was already thinking of thier next visit. "We can't wait to come back. It's definitely something we're going to be doing for a family vacation."