For one LDS couple, a thirst for travel and the inevitability of a terminal illness has set them on a journey of a lifetime.
Travis and Amy Shreeve are from South Jordan, Utah, and are the parents to 8-year-old Vincent and the 1-year-old twins, Willa and Luther. Their eldest daughter, Whitney, was born with a disabling genetic condition that took her life when she was 16-months-old in 2007. Because of her condition, the Shreeves weren’t able to go out much.
“Whitney was very sick. We worried so much about her and we hardly left the house. Because we were so scared, we weren’t able to enjoy a lot of events or destinations with her,” Travis told us.
When it became clear that their son Vincent had the same terminal condition, the Shreeves decided to live with less fear. Vincent and his family are now “The Unlikely Travelers.” They’ve been to Florida, California, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Now, they are touring the Philippines for their “last hurrah” before Vincent’s illness takes him. They are documenting their experiences in a powerful and entertaining blog.
“We hope that we create some memories with Vincent,” Travis said. “We don’t think that the 14- month-old twins will remember Vincent, but we hope to capture photographs so that we can tell them about Vincent and show them the time they spent with Vincent.”
Why the Philippines? Travis served his mission there and has a lot of family in the area, “not family by blood, but people who’ve become family to me.” Many of the people he taught have heard of Vincent and hoped to meet him. Now that the Shreeves are in the Philippines, everyone has been accommodating and generous.
The family is currently in Boracay, a small island. Recently, they’ve also had fun trying chicken feet and chicken intestines. They encourage families with special needs children to get out if they can.
“Travel is slowed with special needs children, and children in general, but it’s a good chance to detach from other distractions and be with family.”
More than anything, the Shreeves are grateful for that time together and the perspective the gospel brings.
“The gospel has influenced the way that we look at death. We do not fear what may become of Vincent after his death, but we want to be prepared. We’d like to feel as if we maximized our family time with him..and our time with the twins,” Travis said.