Guest Post

This entry is being posted by Betsy / Bret’s Mom. I have Bret’s permission to be a guest blogger.

This has been a particularly difficult phase of our CCS journey. After Bret’s truly remarkable adaptation to life with one leg, we all assumed and hoped that he would have a period of relative normalcy…some time to travel and enjoy life without the anchor that his leg had become. It was a supremely cruel blow when tumors surfaced within weeks. It comes as a surprise to none that he needs time to put thoughts of his situation out of reach when he is able. Blogging is just not possible right now.

I want to thank all of you for your amazing support. It continues to mean so much. Bret reads all his comments and e-mails. We all draw from the power of shared love and concern.

Currently, Bret finds comfort in relaxing in his home. The weather could not be sweeter. He and Shannon are enjoying that gentle lake breeze and summer sounds coming through their windows. He has been watching biographies…historical programs…and documentaries about our world challenges. The latest program that captured his attention is a documentary called Blind Spot. It is an eye-opener that we all recommend watching. We have wonderful thought-provoking critiques after these programs and contemplate the significant changes we could make based on what we learn.

Because of the tumors in his arm and spine, Bret is cautious about doing too much physical exertion. Even the use of his crutches could be aggravating the tumors in his arm and spine. However Bret and Shannon have enjoyed some special times that I will share if my “guest artist permit” is extended.

In the meantime, I want to stress our appreciation to all Bret’s readers for the humor, insights, prayers, love and support. For those who read but prefer not to comment, we have felt your presence.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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68 Responses to Guest Post

  1. joe kohler says:

    Hello Bret…

    Your Mothers blog was a comfort to us All,of which via this site you surely have many thousands of concerned persons Praying for You and your Family.

    While having never met you,Sir,you are with out a doubt one of THE most courageous incredible invidiuals to have crossed my life on this earth.

    Bret,for whatever it may be worth you Remain,Sir contiually in my thoughts,prayers,and Thank You for sharing this”journey”.

    Blessing from joe kohler,met your mom at work

  2. joe kohler says:

    Hello Betsy…

    Beautiful,inspiration Blogg and photo …..

    Blessings.from joe

  3. Teri Cotter says:

    The picture is worth a thousand words. Lots of prayers to all of you

  4. Mandy Lindsey Cayouette says:

    Hoefen family, please be assured by our constant love & prayers. Sending virtual hugs to one and all. ♥

  5. Rhiannon says:

    Thank you for the update Betsy,
    I am praying for Bret and the family everyday. I heard something this week and I hope I dont offend anyone for sharing this thought but it really put things into perspective for me. Throughout our lives we may have moments where we think “It can’t get any better than this.” For example an amazing vacation, sitting on the beach with an ice cold drink looking out over a crystal blue sea, or taking a leap of faith and starting a business and actually having it succeed. In these moments we may find ourselves saying “it can’t get any better than this,” but if that is as good as it gets, then when these moments have happened what else is there. Where is the hope for something better or something more that may go beyond this world. Through my faith which I have recently begun to find again, I am beginning to understand how important it is to remember in all moments good and bad, that things Do Get Better for All and through Faith its reach goes beyond this world and into the next. There is something amazing waiting for all of us. Bret, thank you for sharing and Betsy thank you for sharing. If anything maybe my comment will at least spark a thought provoking conversation for all of you, I know it it did in our house.

  6. Judy Bligh says:

    Bret – How good it is to hear about you, if not from you. Please know that all of us who follow your blog are walking this journey with you and that you’re constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Many thanks to Betsy for letting us all know how you’re doing. I agree with Teri Cotter – the picture says it all.

  7. AngelaMuck says:

    Bret you are amazing, dont forget it!!!
    My love and prayers go out to you and your family

  8. Ray Ferran says:

    Thanks Betsy, a well timed update.

    Bret and Shannon,
    I hope you’re finding peace in this quiet time. I have to say, while I miss the blog, I’m glad you’re doing what you need to do for you.
    Of course everyone is wishing you the best .

  9. Laurie Sherner says:

    We’re all with you, Bret! We’re all right here. You are an incredible man.

  10. Ashley says:

    What an amazing family! The support, humor and courage you all share with each other (and the rest of us!) is nothing short of inspiring. Thinking about you each and every day!

  11. Audrey Horan says:

    Thank you , Betsy, for your beautiful words. In trying times it is incredible the strength that can be conjured up and you and your whole family exhibit that strength. We continue to hold you in our prayers each and every day. You all have been on a remarkable journey in the right direction, and we have been with you all the way. This journey really has no end, just a new beginning. This for us is exemplified in the reflective picture of Bret as he looks out over the shimmering lake waters.
    Audrey and Ray

  12. Only a few days ago had I became aware of Bret, his condition and this blog through my colleague at Rochester Rehabilitation. Ironically, Bret knows a mutual friend, Carolina DeHond whose daughter is in my son’s class. Just as my thoughts and prayers are with her as she battles this awful disease they are with you and your family. God bless.

    Kristine Bruneau

  13. Emily says:

    If you haven’t yet… Blog Followers, fill out this form! I am going to compile everyone’s responses for the Hoefens…

  14. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the update. I am sure I’m with lots of other people who have been worried. I check this blog several times a day hoping for an update…and I got my wish today! Thanks Bret’s Mom…Betsy. I totally respect the need for privacy and family time. Do what you want and need to do right now. We are all here for you and I’m so glad you not only read our comments and now that, but also feel the love, support and prayers of everyone commenting and quietly reading your entries and not commenting. I know there are days I “check in” and leave no mark for you to read, but you have been in my prayers every day of my life since November and will continue to be. I have learned so much about what’s important in life through your blog. The strength and courage Bret has and Shannon, Bret’s Mom and Dad and other family members is something I cannot understand totally, but am extremely humbled by.
    Take care and know we are all here supporting you.

  15. Tricia says:

    Thank you for the guest post…like many who have been impressed by Bret & his story, I was a little worried not seeing any updates. Thinking of your entire family during this…you have an amazing son.

  16. Michelle Wolfanger says:

    As always you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Not a day goes by without thinking of you and your struggle, you are truly admirable and a force to be reckoned with. I hope that you and Shannon, as well as the rest of your family are finding the comfort you need during this difficult time.

  17. jean loughran says:

    Bret, I’m pretty sure you comprehend more than anyone how wonderful your family is, but, do you get how incredibly courageous you are? Try reading your blog from beginning to end. You’ll laugh and cry and be amazed at the chutzpah of Bret and his adventures. It’s a fantastic documentary.

  18. Peggy says:

    I am praying for all of you. I admire your strength. My prayers and thoughts are with your family and you.

  19. Yvonne M Sellers says:

    Thank you for the update ‘Bret’s Mom’.. Betsy.. Our thoughts and prayers continue for Bret & the entire Family. Also for peace, wisdom & knowledge, to find the Direction, guidance for the Ride, wherever it takes Bret.

  20. Debbie says:

    My wonderful brother in law and my gorgeous sister (and the awesome Betsy)–thank you for updating on Bret’s condition. I’m glad to hear that he is resting and enjoying the documentaries and of course, spending time with Shannon and his great family. I wish to the depths of my soul I could wrap both of them up in my arms and hug them until all the pain goes away. Although hundreds of miles away, Bret and Shannon are always in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. Please give a kiss to the both of them for me?

    Love you guys so much!


  21. Bob Cownie says:

    Thank you, Betsy, for being the voice of Bret today. We can still capture Bret and Shannon’s courage and unity through your words and photo. Bret, we hope you can always sense the loving presence of all of us whom are holding you both in our thoughts and prayers. As I gaze at this evening’s sunset, I pray the gentle summer breezes, sights and sounds continue to bring you comfort.

  22. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Thanks Betsy for the update. You are a great guest blogger. Hope you add more as The family remains daily in our thoughts and prayers. We respect your privacy but yearn to know how you are doing. Pictures say 1000 words. Just post pictures for us as we all seem to need or want to be a part of your life. Enjoy the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. It’s the simple things in life combined with the loving support of our family and friends that have the most profound affect on us! We love you.

  23. Jeannine Durak says:

    It was nice to see a comment …………You have a awesome,loving,strong family…….I admire your family so much. I pray you find comfort and encouragement from your own blog comments, like your story has done for so many other people folowing your story.l

  24. Pamela Tandy says:

    Now I see where Bret acquired his wonderful writing skills. Thank you so much for this update, and for the suggested programs. I know Bret understands how much he has contributed with his blog. I have savored every single one.
    Please keep writing, Bret’s mom.

    Tandy’s mom

  25. Chrissy Kid says:

    I as others was SO glad to see your “guest” blog.
    Shannon, I am thinking about your situation. I love you.
    Bret, what you started got a whole bunch of people (some strangers) to be family, so for whatever it is worth, you have contributed more to this blog “family” than we can repay you for.
    ((((BIG HUGS)))) to you all.
    Chrissy Kid

  26. Bree Miller says:

    Thank you Betsy!

  27. Alexis Arvanitis says:

    Hi Bret,
    Although I’ve only met you briefly, I’ve been following your journey for the past few months. I am glad you’ve managed to experience in just a few months what other people experience in years (if ever). Thanks for sharing and letting us into your thoughts. I wish there was more I could do or say to give something back. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you have also traveled to Greece, only through the power of this blog.
    Love to you, Shannon, and all your family,

  28. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Bret (and Aunt Bets),
    Thank you so much for posting, it gives us all such strength when we here from you. Your followers (us included) continue to pray for you everyday and think of you more than you know. If you have a constant ringing in your ears you should all know why. You continue to give us all strength and pull out emotions from us that we never knew were possible. You will never walk alone Bret. God Bless.

  29. Linda Ann Ventura says:

    Thank you so very much Betsy for your “mother’s touch” or “guest artist” spin. I have been one of those silent readers who feels compelled to thank your whole family for the courage and love you continue to share. You are an amazing group and an inspiration to this reader for sure. You continue to add to and maintain this “garden” as you do the one that is your home…and once again I am the fortunate neighbor to be comforted and enriched by your work..Love all of you!!!

    Linda Ann

  30. Christine & George says:

    Thanks Bets, we needed that. We’re still sending our love and positive energy to all of you.

  31. Deanne, Tina, Dianne & Darren says:

    Hi Betsy;
    Thank you for the update. My thoughts are with all of you.

  32. Aunt Bo says:

    Bret & Shannon,

    We have you in our thoughts and prayers. We continue to amazed at your strong and resilient spirit. please know we are all thinking of you and hope you feel our love and support all around you. We love you both.

    We are currently in NOLA with Katie and are jumping on a cruise boat SUnday. This family vacation was motivated by you and your family adventures this past year. life is about family and the time and memories you share. Thank you for encouraging and inspiring us to go on this adventure with Katie and Mark.

    Thanks for the update Betsy…great job. Love you too!

  33. The Siciliano's says:

    Thank you, Betsy, for a much needed update. No matter where we all are located, our family continuously talks about Bret’s blog, how he’s getting along, where he and Shannon will adventure to next, and loving the pics. Bret, you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Thank you for allowing us all to adventure with you.

  34. Dani Solberg says:

    So pleased to see an update! Thank you Mrs. Hoefen for being a guest poster today! You have my approval to write anytime! Glad to hear Bret is doing as well as he can and spending time with loved ones and having MUCH needed rest! My thoughts are always with you and your family! Send Bret and Shannon my best!


  35. Jean Drum says:

    Betsy, thanks so much for the information about Bret. We have been wondering about him and keeping him in our prayers. Please keep blogging as we love to hear how Bret and Shannon are doing. Bret, we hope that you can enjoy the warm weather and the fun things this summer. Keep the faith and keep looking forward to tomorrow. Keeping you in our prayers and thoughts. Betsy, keep being the guest blogger.

  36. Stacy Matz says:

    Thank you so much for the post !!! I have been checking everyday for a new one. My heart goes out to you all !!! We think of you guys everyday. ❤ Stacy, Eric & the kids

  37. Kay and Larry Thomas says:

    Brett, the picture of you looking out beyond the confines of your own space and time is the image that we keep in our hearts.
    May the blessings of your family and friends keep you moving on the path that is yours and yours alone.

  38. Carmel says:

    Thank you for the update, Betsy. Bret’s blog is one of my first stops each morning.
    I am constantly sending lots of positive vibes and prayers his way. I will continue to keep all of you close to my heart each and every day.
    Love to the entire Hoefen family…

  39. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Beautifully written, heartfelt words, Bets – a wonderful update – inspired and touched by a mother’s special love.
    Bret and Shanny, your courage, strength and love for one another inspire and strengthen us all. We love you all more than we can begin to put into words. May you draw strength each day from all the love, prayers and special thoughts that are being sent your way.

  40. Alex Boyles says:

    Bret I just wanted to say that you have been an inspiration to all of us!! The way you hung in there and fought this diease and not quiting and not giving up!! Its kinda like when Jimmy Valvano had cancer. I always remember what he said, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up”!! I think you have took that to heart!! But I know that your going through a tough time right now!! I can’t imagine what it is like because I’ve never been in your shoes! Again my thoughts and prayers are with you and Shannon and your family man!

  41. ginger johannes says:

    Thank you Betsy,

  42. Lizzie says:

    Hi, You don’t know me–I’ve been reading Bret’s blog for a while but have never commented. It has been so inspiring and I’m very sad that Bret is going through such a rough time right now. I just wanted to finally speak up and send some love and good vibes your way so that I am sure that they are felt. I’m not really one who does much praying, but I’ll be praying for you. You are amazing.

  43. Mark Edmond says:

    I’m trying to think a way to bring some levity to my post, but am failing miserably! Maybe my lack of ability to come up with anything succeeds in providing a chuckle. On a more serious note, I hope this doesn’t ring hollow…Remember to keep smiling and that life is good…enjoy all the simple pleasures, enjoy all the time you get with your family, enjoy having Shannon by your side. Stay strong.

  44. Kelly says:

    Whew! Each day I check to see if Bret has written more on his blog – thank you for the update. Continue doing what feels right and know that we are all here cheering you on.

  45. Pat says:

    Thank you for the beautiful update, “Bret’s Mom” – as an earlier reply voiced, now we now where his written talent originates from! Bret, as Sherri so thoughtfully expressed, you know all of your coworkers at Ginna Nuclear Plant have had you and your family in our thoughts and prayers each step of this incredible journey you’ve taken us on. You’ve probably heard that we finished the outage yesterday, but what you probably couldn’t have imagined was how many of your coworkers were wearing your “Ride In A Good Direction” wristband when that breaker closed in. You weren’t in the Control Room physically, but you were with us in spirit, brother. You’ve experienced the one-of-a-kind exhileration of the full throttle ride into tight curves on two wheels, Bret (not many in life have, literally and figuratively) – time to lay back now and enjoy those lakeside views and the ever-present love of Shannon and your family.

  46. Lynn and Scott Woodworth says:

    Thank you Betsy, and thank you Bret for allowing your mom to update us. My family and I have been following your blog daily since Xmas eve, when I ran into your Mom in Michael’s. You and Shannon amaze me. You have seen, done, and made more memories during your journey than most people ever do. We wish you and Shannon peace, comfort and tranquility. Our love and prayers are with you. May God Bless You. Lynn and Scott Woodworth

  47. Ellen Edmond says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Was grateful for another update as, like everyone, I was sitting on pins & needles. With Shannon and family at your side, I await your own personal touch to your blog. Your strength of spirit will bring you back to your ride in the right direction. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

  48. Carol burke says:

    Good morning Bret, Thinking about you always. I am heading to work this Saturday morning. I own a condo concierge/cleaning company. This time of year is very busy for me and my employees. Holly and I had a discussion about what we would do when we got to heaven. She is taking care of the babies up there. I told her that when her brother goes to heaven, he will be whistling which drove her nuts!
    I asked Holly ” What will I be doing when I go to heaven” She smirked and replied “Cleaning”! I told her I didn’t want to do that! lol. Do enough of it here! What will you and Shannon be doing in heaven?
    A big hug and kiss to you and Shannon MMMWAH!

  49. Terry Concessi says:

    Thinking of you and your family today as always. I have been trying to thinking of something to say after your mom’s wonderful post, but I am just at a loss for words, my heart is breaking. I am praying for all of you.

  50. Diane Bergvall says:

    Thank you Bret for allowing your mom to be your guest blogger. Even though I haven’t written often, you are all constantly on my mind and in my prayers. You and your fantastic family have been such an inspiration to more people than you ever can imagine. You helped me to make the decision this year to retire, start living for me and do some of the things I’ve just been dreaming about doing!! Thank you! I needed that push! When it would have been so easy for you to just sit around feeling sorry for yourself, you took off on an adventure of a lifetime riding in a good direction, making each day the best, and providing everyone with wonderful memories. I hope you realize that even now as you’re enjoying the gentle breezes coming off the lake and the beautiful New York summer weather, that you are continuing to be an inspiration to so many people. You, Shannon and your entire family are truely remarkable. God Bless!

  51. Judy Lynd says:

    Bret, Shannon, and family…was so very happy to find a message on your blog when we returned from vacation…your mom’s comments were beautiful and helped to fill the big void of not reading your own words…as always our thoughts and prayers are with you all…Judy and John

  52. Holly & Carly Lavigne says:

    Hi Bret, you have been in our thoughts as we have traversed some beautiful country here in Colorado. Tomorrow is the first day of Ride the Rockies, an epic bike ride. We are dedicating every one of the 74 miles we will ride tomorrow to you – ride in a good direction!

    Love, holly & carly

  53. tina says:

    Bret, you don’t know me, I have a connection with you, but not able to share much more than that… I don’t know even what to say, I want to ask you questions about life, I feel like you know more about this than anyone, I want to ask your opinions and why?? I am not sure, but I feel that you might have the answers… Weird huh? I hope you are comfortable, warm, and soft and cozy…

  54. Mary Beer says:

    Bets…..I have no idea how you find the strength to cope with such a cruel fate that has fallen on your boy….it is clear that you and Jim have done an incredible job of parenting all of your sons which must make this journey excrutiating at times. Thank you for the update…..I was praying that the news would be better.
    Bret…thank you for sharing this journey and while the 2000 daily blog hits seeking updates are a testament to how desperately we all are seeking the right direction…hope, inspiration, purpose, it’s not the 2000 that really matter. You are what matters….you and Shannon and all those who love you. I hope that there is comfort in knowing that there are more than just your inner circle who care for you and are praying for you daily. We are praying for miracles for you but mostly that God will send angels to ease your pain to allow you to feel His presence. If there is anything that we can do to support you and your family….know that we would move heaven and earth to help.

  55. Nanette Hance says:

    Thanks Betsy for your update. It is my hope that Bret and Shannon enjoy the privacy and intimacy of the beautiful lakeside home they share. May they find peace and comfort in their peaceful and picturesque surroundings. Blessings to all … Nan

  56. Lori B says:

    Like everyone else has said Betsy, thank you so much for the update. Your son truly is an inspiration to everyone. He is an amazingly strong young man with a wonderful support group right there next to him. I do hope that Bret is as comfortable as he can be and that he and Shannon are enjoying themselves and finding the strength from each other that they need. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

  57. Tish Welch and Judie says:

    Bret and Shannon,
    Am sending you my love and holding you in the light.
    Love Aunt Tish and Judie

  58. Lisa Dotson says:

    Betsy, thanks for the update on Bret. I am pretty new to Bret’s blog and I am also very greatful for it. My father is also fighting this disease. He has been an inspiration to my family. Last week my sister inlaw shared a poem with me and I just love it and would like to share it with Bret and Shannon. They might have already seen it but it’s worth reading again. Please tell Bret and Shannon that they are in my prayers.
    What Cancer Cannot Do
    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple Love
    It cannot shatter Hope
    It cannot corrode Faith
    It cannot destroy Peace
    It cannot kill Friendship
    It cannot suppress Memories
    It cannot silence Courage
    It cannot invade the Soul
    It cannot steal eternal Life
    It cannot conquer the Spirit
    Author unknown

  59. Fran and Murph says:

    Betsy, We have been with you on the entire trip. We check on Brett each day and were so thankful for the guest blog. The picture offers more than words can say. Brett and Shannon are simply an amazing couple. I admire their determination to live life to its fullest. Know that you and the entire family are in out thoughts and prayers daily.
    Love, Fran and Murph

  60. Reggie & Mary Lee says:

    Hi Bret & Shannon-
    In my devotional reading this morning in a book called “Streams in the Desert” by Mrs. Chas E. Cowman, there was a statement that I want to share with you. “It was a storm that occasioned the discovery of the gold mines of India. Hath not a storm driven some to the discovery of the richer mines of the love of God in Christ?
    That is our prayer for you.
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
    We love you and are praying, Reggie & Mary Lee

  61. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Hi Bret and family,
    We are on vacation this week at Lake George. First time here and it is beautiful. I am sitting here checking on you and in awe of God’s beauty with the rays of sun making its way through all of the trees shining a spot light on every leaf in its path. Birds are chirping and the cute little chipmunks are busy playing. You have taught me to stop and appreciate these things in life. You have re-opened my eyes and heart to all of my surroundings and to not only be thankful but grateful for each day.

    It is not easy to do that in our nuclear world! It is not easy for anyone who is trying to make ends meet in this world today. Know that by sharing your journey with us our lives are richer.

    I pray today and everyday comfort and strength for you and your amazing family.

  62. Christine says:

    I get butteflies in my stomach every time I go to my favorites and click on your blog. I wonder if you will
    have written…what type of day you have had…and how you are feeling. We have never met but you
    have opened your world and your struggles to complete strangers and. I think that reading about your
    experiences has helped me to love more unconditionally…..laughed more freely and judge people a little less.
    Thank you for being an inspiration. I hope you continue to find strength in your family, your surroundings,
    and your readers. Whether or not you realize it, you have become a part of our families and we love you for
    that. Stay Positive. Thinking and praying for you from Philly.

  63. Lynn and Scott Woodworth says:

    Dear Bret,
    As I read the replies to your blog, it is amazing just how many people you have inspired and the purpose has. You have done more than touch many lives. You have changed them!
    I wish you and your entire family peace and comfort. God Bless You.

  64. Chris Swingle says:

    I’m thinking of you and your family.

  65. Carol burke says:

    Hey Bret and Shannon, Thinking of you two.
    I was with a friend today. She told me about her little boy was going around the house singing that new song “sticks and stones will break my bones but chains and whips excite me’! He is only four!
    You can’t make this stuff up.

    With warm thoughts and hugs your way.

  66. Mary Wilde says:

    To Bret’s mom….Your son is amazing as are you. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. Please know I pray that the Lord gives you strength and courage to face whatever each day brings. Your son has touched many lives.

  67. Mary Randolph says:

    Thank you for the update! I checked everyday…you are so right Betsy, living in the country formed a bond between my sons that is like none other!! A true blessing…..You are all always in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep the updates coming, you are all engraved in my heart.

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