FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heart of Passion
Audubon Aquarium to Host New Orleans Group Bringing Hope to Teens with Cancer
Audubon Nature Institute is sending out this press release on behalf of Heart of Passion.
(New Orleans, La.)-Young leaders hope to show that laughter is still the best medicine for a special group of teen cancer survivors. Organized by the non-profit group Heart of Passion (HoP), the second annual Red Carpet Retreat New Orleans will treat 20 teens from cancer centers in Texas and Mississippi to an inspiring weekend designed to create lasting memories and strong emotional bonds among fellow cancer survivors. The event takes place June 13-16 throughout the city of New Orleans. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will host a "Breakfast with the Sharks" for the special group on Thursday, June 14 at 8am in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit along with a tour of the Aquarium.
"Everyone knows cancer can be one of the hardest experiences a person faces," says Savannah Solomon, Tulane masters of business administration graduate and founder of Heart of Passion. "This experience is particularly difficult for teenagers, who lack the naïveté of children and the self-assuredness of adults. Teens are learning their independence, and cancer can really complicate that process."
No one understands that better than Solomon, who was diagnosed with cancer at
ages 12, 15 and 18. As she began to miss out on the normal teenage experience
due to her rigorous treatment schedule, she went looking for answers. Finding
that there were few support networks especially for teens with cancer, she
created one herself. Heart of Passion was born, and ten years later the group
has helped hundreds of teenage cancer survivors learn to enjoy life and forget
their disease, even if only for a few days at a time. Patients have the chance
to be "normal" and independent - and parents have the chance to let them without
Based out of their posh accommodations at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, these
teens will forget their troubles as they enjoy days filled with Rock ‘N Bowl,
swamp tours, an Paris Parker Spa salon day, and a dance at Mardi Gras World. The
week's events center on a scavenger hunt-style day of challenges; teams will be
whisked around the city in limousines as they stop at various iconic locations
to complete certain tasks. To kick off this cornerstone event, Audubon Aquarium
of the Americas, a facility of Audubon Nature Institute, will welcome the group
for a special before-hours breakfast with the sharks and aquarium
While the event provides a wonderful distraction, cancer is a serious matter for these young survivors. Teenagers often face some of the toughest cancer treatments and many even show signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) at some point after diagnosis. It is for this reason that Heart of Passion has decided to put its roots down in New Orleans, a city that knows how to rise above tough times and enjoy the good things in life.
"After completing my education in New Orleans and experiencing first-hand the positive approach people take to life here, I knew this would be the ideal base of operations for Heart of Passion moving forward," says Solomon. "Our goal is to provide hope to teenagers with cancer. I can think of no better place for them to learn to feel comfortable in their own skin, forget their troubles and finally feel at home again."
Since its founding in 2002, Heart of Passion has hosted ten "Red Carpet Day" retreats for teens with cancer in Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans, serving over 400 patients in those regions. Heart of Passion's priority is to create a unique experience for this age group. The event is coordinated by a group of 11th and 12th grade students from Isidore Newman High School and Metairie Park Country Day School.
For more information on Red Carpet Day or Heart of Passion, visit heartofpassion.net or facebook.com/HeartofPassion.