Siblings, Ian and Taylor Milne were able to make their mother’s dream come true with a trip to Hawaii this past winter, thanks to community support and fund-raising.

Lisa Milne, a single mother, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. Eleven years later, in 2009, she was diagnosed with melanoma, resulting in the removal of her right eye along with her lymph nodes. In September, she was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. The family received an outpouring of support. Ian Milne, wrote the following letter to The Times this week, thanking the entire community:

“My family and I would like to express our gratitude for your supportive article in the Trumbull Times. Your publication spread awareness of our mother’s condition and our campaign, enabling us to reach our fundraising goal and fulfill Lisa’s dream. In addition, I would like to give a special thanks to Marisa’s Restaurant for hosting a fundraising event for my mother. However, this letter is not directed at any one person or entity, but rather the entire Trumbull community. I hope that this letter reaches all of the generous and kind individuals and families that made my mother’s dream a reality.

I am at a loss for words concerning the overwhelming amount of compassion this community has showed our family. Whether you contributed through a monetary donation, a personal letter expressing your prayers, or a simple hug, my family and I will be forever grateful for the gifts you have given us. Together as a community, we created a beautiful opportunity out of a disheartening situation.

The “Love for Lisa” fund-raiser began with the goal to raise enough money to fund my mother’s dream vacation to Hawaii. In a short time, our tangible goal transformed into something deeper: a new sense of hope that has had a profound effect on my family. A genuine hope, best described as something once said by President Barack Obama:

“That stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

Your friendship and generosity has uncovered this new hope for my family, proving the importance of seeking support in difficult times and the uplifting effects of positive thinking.

As a result of Trumbull’s peerless support for my mother, my sister and I exceeded our goal of raising $20,000 and were able to fulfill our mother’s aspiration to travel to Hawaii accompanied by both of her children. Whenever someone asks me about the trip, I always struggle to express the experience in words; however, if I had to summarize the trip with one word it would be magical. We had the opportunity to see the beauty of Maui from countless perspectives. From a helicopter ride that toured the entire island to a zip-lining trip through the rainforest, we witnessed the beauty of Maui’s landscape from high and low. In addition, we came in close contact with some of the islands inhabitants: during our sunset dinner cruise on the Pacific, a fifty-foot humpback whale came right up to the side of our ship and performed a twenty-minute show of flips and dives for us. Also, during a snorkeling trip we swam along-side sea turtles and “luckily”(so my sister says) avoided coming in contact with any sharks. The list of breath-taking activities goes on and on, but none of these events would have been possible if not for the endless support this community has given my mother.

Throughout my fifteen years living in Trumbull, I have come across so many influential people. Whether a teacher, coach, parent, or friend, I could not be more thankful for each and every person who has made a positive impact on my life. Your benevolence has made my mother stronger in her battle against cancer. At her latest doctor’s appointment, she was informed that her treatment had reduced the size of her tumor. Hopefully, this is the first of more good news to come. Always remember that miracles can happen, and with your enduring support, miracles will happen.” — Ian Milne