Patty Virgilio, 54, dreamed of traveling Route 66 long before receiving breast, pancreatic and thyroid cancer diagnoses. “I’m a huge fan of America. I’ve been talking to my sister about doing this for about 20 years, and she’s laughed at me every time,” she says.
What started out as a “bucket list” trip for the Bradenton, FL, woman quickly flowered into much more for her, her sister and four of their friends. The Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in Amarillo, Texas, was glad to be a part of the journey.
“I used to say, ‘There’s no way I’m going to sit in a car and drive down this old road,’” recalls Patty’s sister, Jane Trinci. Then their lives changed. Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2007, and Patty received the same diagnosis four months later. Three years after that, doctors diagnosed Patty with stage four pancreatic cancer, and two years later, in 2014, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“Many people live only five years with pancreatic cancer, so I got kind of panicked. Already, it has been a journey and true miracle that I am still here,” Patty says, having undergone more than 40 rounds of chemotherapy. “It has been three years and 10 months since my pancreatic cancer diagnosis. So I thought, I’ve got to start spreading hope. And what better way of doing that than taking Route 66? My sister agreed it would be a good idea.”
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