And just like that, our fourth annual Week of Hope was recently held at Flathead Lake Lodge. An event that got its start to honor our 75th anniversary in 2020, Week of Hope is now a ranch tradition that we look forward to every year. As you can imagine, this is an event that takes many hands to bring to life, from monetary donors to sponsors and vendors to staff and volunteers. We could not bring a Week of Hope to life each year and give the gift of hope to critically ill children and their families without the incredible people who help make it possible.
Here’s a peek at some of the folks who helped with Week of Hope (and to those who also gave monetary donations, please know that your help, donations and support are much appreciated):
Glacier Raft Company: Hosted a scenic float trip for 50.
American Vision Photography: Paul Andes took portraits and did photo shoots for each family, as well as candid photos throughout the week.
Dan Linn, Rideback: Due to Dan’s generosity, each year we have a Week of Hope video that captures the memories, family bonding and adventures throughout the week. This video is a treasured keepsake for everyone involved!
Outback Trading and M&F Western Products: Donated cowboy hats for all the kids.
Logan Health Children’s: Provided nurses and wheelchair-accessible van.
Eva Gates: Donated huckleberry jam.
In addition, our own TJ (who is our dishwasher at the lodge) has been keeping and recycling cans all season. He donated the money he raised to Week of Hope.
And while we could tell you all of the reasons this week is so special to us and to the families who attend Week of Hope, we though we’d share a few quote from the families themselves.
“You don’t know how much this touched our family; my son forgot he had cancer for 5 days”
“Thank you for all the memories and for being an agent of grace to all of us.”
“From Sept 11-Sept 16, Dave and I and the kids got to experience the most incredible time together, thanks to HopeKids and Flathead Lake Lodge. We celebrated Andre, spent time just being us and away from everything we handle in our day-to-days (appointments, therapies, etc..) and we’re introduced to and formed bonds with 15 families just like ours from the across the country. Friendships were formed; new adventures and experiences were had, and memories to last a lifetime. This vacation out to Montana was the most incredible experience and we are so forever grateful to have been given this.”
“My son has not talked or played with anyone for over a year until Garrett sat down next to him at breakfast camp.”
“We had been trying to get our child on a horse for years, he was not a fan, but Cotton won his heart, and we will be forever grateful for this week. I will never forget the feeling of having support.”
For more from the week, see the photo album here. From us to you, thanks for being part of the Flathead Lake Lodge family.
With sincere gratitude and a humble heart,
This September, Flathead Lake Lodge will be the host location for the fourth annual Week of Hope, an event with HopeKids. Started in 2020 for our 75th anniversary, a Week of Hope is a tradition we’re honored to be a part of. For 2023, 16 critically ill children and their families will spend September 11-16 at the ranch where they can enjoy time together, experience new things and make sweet memories.
And while we could tell you how amazing this week is and how special it is to the families who attend, the ranch and our staff, instead we thought we’d introduce you to two of the families attending Week of Hope this fall.
Meet the Valle family
The Valle family will travel from north Texas to northwest Montana to attend a Week of Hope, with the HopeKid being Evan Valle, a 9 year old with MELAS. For the past six years, Evan has been hospitalized numerous times, does twice daily breathing treatments, takes multiple medications and more.
In the words of his family, “This week will mean the world to our family to be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company and meet other families. We don’t often have the opportunity to take a vacation and especially not of this magnitude. We have certainly never been to Montana! This will be a once in a lifetime option before Evan’s condition changes. A change of scenery will recharge and rejuvenate Evan’s soul. Thank you for the opportunity to experience this wonderful adventure. Hope is a powerful thing!”
Meet the Davenport family
The Davenport family will join Week of Hope from Colorado, with HopeKid Michael who is 9 years old. Since he was 1 year old, Michael has deal with complex epilepsy that includes thee types of seizures, as well as autism, asthma and more. He’ll be attending Week of Hope with his mother and older brother Eddie, who has also been dealing with health issues since 2020.
In the words of his mom Eileen, “I am a single mom with 2 amazing kids that struggle more than any kid should have to just to survive in this world. They teach me every single day how to be strong, have compassion, and to never give in to the chaos we deal with. Through all the hardships, HopeKids has been one of the biggest blessings by providing opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Their dedication, patience, and hard work has truly given our family HOPE over and over again! Thank you to all the donors who help support HopeKids, your generosity helps families create unforgettable memories. This week will show my two boys here’s a world outside of complex medical care and judgment from others due to disabilities. It will provide memories other than needle pokes, invasive testing, and day to day struggles of ongoing medical hardships. Being chosen for Week of Hope creates an opportunity to enjoy the wilderness in all its glory, while giving a platform to encourage rest and peace in a way we have never had as a family unit. This trip is a silver lining to a grey cloud, reminding us that tough times consistently happen in life but there is also relief and sometimes it comes from complete strangers in unexpected ways. This adventure will allow us to connect with other families in different HopeKids’ chapters and allow all those selected to reset our souls to take on whatever life throws our way. The trip means an opportunity to spend quality time as a family unit, which is priceless and rare to come across. Last but not least, this trip means Michael can take pride in marking off Montana on his treasured scratch off map of the United States hanging in his room!”
Over the past few years, this week has touched the lives of many families. It’s a week that reminds us to slow down and soak up the moments, while always remembering that at the end of the day, family, love and hope are the most important things. If you’d like to help bring a Week of Hope to life this year, we invite you to donate here.
With hope and gratitude,