They inspire us: Cindy Bartlett on her mission, Priceless4Purpose
Cindy Bartlett runs Mystic Views Bed & Breakfast in the woods of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. But her passion is Priceless4Purpose, a nonprofit that grants adults affected by cancer and undergoing active treatment up to 3 nights stay at Mystic Views at no charge.
When tragedy struck and her husband, Steve, passed away from cancer, Cindy struck back and created Priceless4Purpose in honor of him.
Cindy and her mission, Priceless4Purpose, from the beginning:
My husband and I bought this 25-acre property on Omen Lake and developed Mystic Views, a bed and breakfast, with the plan to have a relaxed life.
It took 3 years to complete the building until it was ready for guests. We moved here and three months later, Steve was diagnosed with colon cancer. 20 months later, he died.
Then, I had to make decisions about what I wanted to do with this place by myself. I began to think about all the other people I had met when Steve and I had gone through chemo and how nice it would be for those people if they had the chance to come up to Mystic Views to relax and rejuvenate.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that there really was nothing like this out there - a bed and breakfast that offered cancer patients a break from their chaotic lives; the chance to recharge and relax. Something like this bed and breakfast would give them a chance to be in a nature-filled setting, and such a peaceful setting.
So, I began to plan to set up a nonprofit that would support the idea of giving cancer patients the chance to come up here. I started Googling how to start a nonprofit, and I started to look for other mentors from nonprofits in the area to talk to me about how to set up a nonprofit.
Tell us about some of the people you've met up here.
I've been doing this for 8 years now and have met so many wonderful people who are going through this cancer experience.
I had a woman with breast cancer tell me that through her surgeries, through her chemo and everything, even when she was cancer free, she wasn't going to think of any of the bad stuff she went through - the only memory that was going to stick with her was the time she spent up here.
It's hard to take time out when you get into the whole treadmill of cancer, as I always call it. Once you're on the treadmill and everything starts up, it's good for you to take that time out and kind of rejuvenate yourself. There's a lot of studies out now, too, regarding what nature does for the health of people, especially people going through cancer. One of the articles that I read said that time spent in nature is like morphine for the brain. I love that quote, too.
What do you get personally out of doing this? How do you stay motivated?
I get so much fulfillment out of doing this. We built this place with big dreams in mind and when everything happened, I didn't know what I was going to be doing. So to utilize this place in this way, and to be able to be here and then also to cater to these people - people who are going through cancer, like I knew, there's so much self-satisfaction. I get so much from this.
Do you have any personal message for guys at Jack's?
I think Jack's is a great organization. I was out looking to see if there was something out there like that because I see that some of these men whose wives are going through cancer need support. I just thought that there had to be something out there like that. I raised 3 sons who are married now. I think: what would they be like if their spouses had cancer. Would they get the support they need? So, I think that Jack's and its mission is wonderful. I encourage everybody at Jack's to bring your significant other with cancer up here with you; come up and take a break from everything.
Do you have any plans for Priceless4Purpose?
I've thought about that. I just have this one bed and breakfast, but if I couldn't do it financially any longer, or chose to retire at some point, or just chose to extend the mission, I could keep getting funds for Priceless4Purpose and see if other lodges or resorts want to do what I'm doing. I could help them set up this process and share the funds. There are a lot of mom and pop resorts up here or even the bigger lodges that could use the exposure and might love to share the mission.
The quality of my life has improved by doing what I'm doing now, meeting the people that I'm meeting.
If you missed and wanna check out part 1 of this blog series, click here.