The Facebook message announcing the passing of the mother of the founder of My Staycation Box read something like "Greetings My Staycation Box Fans... It is with a sad and heavy heart to announce that the founder of My Staycation Box, - her mother, who helped inspire the company lost her battle with breast cancer Sunday afternoon..."
For those who do not know, like those just finding out about My Staycation Box for the first time via this blog post, My Staycation Box was inspired by the founder's mother battle with breast cancer that metastasized in the bone back in the spring of 2016. It was a simple idea to help her mom, Carol Amundsen, to cope and forget about the diagnosis through the help of a care package from a fun destination she hoped to go back to some day. That destination was Hawaii, having moved to the beautiful islands back in the 1970's, met her husband and the rest is history. Memories of Hawaii were always in the front of her mind, places she worked, friends she made, relaxing on the beach in Waikiki, and of how she met her husband. Giving her a taste of those memories with smells, foods, travel books on Oahu, and so on is something a care package could recreate so the founder, Michelle Sholund, did just that.
It is hard to believe that one and a half years later not only did the idea became a business - My Staycation Box, but the main inspiration behind the business lost her battle on November 5th, 2017 and fitting enough, on All Saints Day. While neighbors, friends and family knew Carol well, the founder - out of respect for Carol's wishes, didn't want much of her life to be public. There are only a few photos taken of Carol from the time she was diagnosed until her passing - one of the favorites is the one shown with this blog post opening the prototype for the first time. Carol's life wasn't about cancer, but how she touched so many people and gave inspiration to countless people she met throughout her life. Carol had the biggest heart and an amazing gift of making friends wherever she went including the deli counter of the local grocery store.
Carol's big desire was to help anyone she met. This even further enforced the founder's desire to go from a nice thoughtful gift for her mom to cheer her up to share that same idea and build on it considering Carol's legacy during the process. It wasn't just Michelle - the founder of My Staycation, but her mother's encouragement pushing Michelle to help countless others who need cheering up, a get away, a break from life's woes yet cannot drop everything and go. This was an immediate reaction after she opened the box back in 2016, teary eyed, and began to call her neighbors over the phone and ask them to come over and see this amazing gift she just received. A true proud mother, but one who also saw the potential of what could come out of this gesture. Through the process of starting the business, Carol had input regarding ideas on how to curate boxes and always wanted to see the next box and what was in it - a perk with being related to the owner!
Now with a full year of when My Staycation Box launched, it is with a heavy heart that the main inspiration of the box is gone, but will never be forgotten. Every time a subscriber sees the business' website and reads about the origin story of the business to every box that a subscriber opens, Carol lives on. My Staycation Box isn't just a company, but a fond tribute to a legacy of a beautiful woman, inside and out, who some called "Christmas Carol", mom, friend, neighbor, cousin, "Soap Lady Carol"... and Carol Amundsen.
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