Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Dreama Travis: InnVirginia Member of the Year

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Steve and Kathi Walker present Dreama Travis with the 2014 Member of the Year Award.

Steve and Kathi Walker present Dreama Travis with the 2014 Member of the Year Award.

On the evening of Feb. 23, Dreama Travis of the Old Mill House Bed and Breakfast in Graves Mill, Virginia was awarded the Bed and Breakfast Member of the Year, an honor to be added to her many recent accomplishments.

Travis, a nine-year member of BBAV and the Inns at Montpelier, has shown her fellow innkeepers the true meaning of perseverance, proving to be an inspiration.

Four years ago, Travis was diagnosed with Stage IV Endometrial Cancer. Inoperable and incurable, Travis was given limited time to live. Wanting to get the most out of life, she embarked in a holistic approach to battle the disease.

Travis’ lifestyle changes proved helpful, but unfortunately could not stop the inevitable. After months of sporadic operation, the Old Mill House Bed and Breakfast eventually closed, a decision Travis thought would be permanent.

Even with the devastating loss of her business, Travis was not ready to quit and began defying odds. Feeling strong enough, Travis found herself attending a mission trip to Nigeria where she provided medical care and educational support to natives.

Locally, Travis stated a support program called the First Responders Cancer Team. The team aims to provide support to newly diagnosed cancer patients. To be a team member, one must have cancer or be a cancer survivor. Initially, they were reaching out to patients in surrounding countries, but are now counseling patients around the globe.

“Being an innkeeper has afforded me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world,” Travis said. “Sometimes guests will go home after a stay at The Old Mill House and later learn about a friend or loved one being diagnosed with this most dreaded disease. They call and ask if I will talk with them. Sharing my success story gives them hope where there was no hope before.”

Although Travis still battles cancer, she has already overcome tremendous obstacles, most recently in the re-opening of the Old Mill House Bed and Breakfast, which is now back in full swing.

Congratulations Dreama on all your hard work!

Congratulations Dreama on all your hard work!

Travis was proudly awarded her honor at the 2014 Annual Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia Conference in Richmond, Virginia where she was accompanied by a standing ovation of fellow colleagues. The room was evidently full of great admiration for this outstanding member, not only with her Bed and Breakfast, but life.

The Old Massanutten Lodge: Then & Now

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Margie and Guy Vlasits

Margie and Guy Vlasits celebrate 10 years at The Old Massanutten Lodge

The Old Massanutten Lodge celebrates ten years as a B&B, and even longer as a place of personal and community strength.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Old Massanutten Lodge B&B, in Keezletown, VA. However, before Margie and Guy Vlasits purchased the property in the early 1990s, the lodge served as a day-resort for visitors and locals from the mid-1920s through the 60s, providing a place of relaxation and entertainment for its guests. Now, almost a century later, the Vlasits have restored the property and successfully provided a similar atmosphere.

“We wanted to give the property back to the community,” says Margie, the property’s primary caretaker. Indeed, the Vlasits successfully opened their doors to guests in 2003 as a place of rejuvenation, nourishment, and celebration for those near and far. Soon after, in 2005, Margie faced another life-changing situation: the onset of cancer. This didn’t keep her from serving the B&Bs many guests.

The Old Massanutten Lodge in Keezletown, VA

The Old Massanutten Lodge in Keezletown, VA

Although she couldn’t advance the business during this time, she maintained it to the best of her ability with the help of others. The business “helped me get through the treatments,” she says. The Vlasits opened the B&B as a place to “renourish guests’ souls,” she continues, and “at the same time it did the same for me.” For eight of the ten years that the B&B has been in service, Margie battled cancer and won. Her own story further enriches that of the property and the community surrounding it.

“We love to host people from all over the world with great cultural and personal diversities,” Margie says. Many guests come from just a couple hours away looking for rest from the daily grind. Others come for adventure and entertainment to an area rich in history, culture, nature, and just plain fun.  Old Massanutten Lodge’s quiet rural location is a pleasant change from the noise and activity of urban areas.

The last weekend in October, the Old Massanutten Lodge celebrates the property’s extensive past in conjunction with its tenth anniversary as a B&B through a story-telling event and concert. The Vlasits plan to invite anyone with a history at the lodge to come and tell his/her story while showcasing local folk artists. All in all, the Old Massanutten Lodge focuses on the past, present, and future as memories in the making. Come make memories at the Old Massanutten Lodge, entwining your history with that of this historic local landmark.

Old Mill House’s Innkeeper Thrives After a Battle with Cancer

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

As of May 11, 2013, Dreama Travis, owner of the Old Mill House Bed & Breakfast, is 70 years old, and as a cancer survivor, every birthday is an extra special milestone. InnVirginia is pleased to share Dreama’s story in honor of the recent 26th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day:

“Three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV Endometrial Cancer—inoperable and incurable.  It had metastasized to my lung, pelvis and diaphragm.  I was at a ski resort in Arizona when I began having chest pains and couldn’t breathe.  My daughter rushed me to the ER where I was told I had a mass in my lung.  I immediately flew back to Virginia and began the process of testing to determine the type and stage.  Amidst all the drama and pain, the blizzard came and left me without phone service for a week, unable to communicate with doctors and my family.  It was just me and God and of course the new knowledge that things were not looking good.

I closed the B&B and spent most of my days lying on the sofa in front of the fireplace or making trips to Charlottesville for endless testing and doctor visits.  Neighbors were wonderful to dig me out and drive me.  My daughters, who live out of state, left their families and came to help and were such a blessing.  The next couple of years, I spent opening and closing the B&B and giving massages but I had to push through the cleaning, cooking and being hospitable.

Last spring I was told that I ‘didn’t have much longer.’ Once again, I closed the business and began getting things in order for my children.  After much thought, I decided to stop all cancer drugs and live the amount of time I had left. I chose quality of life over quantity of life and I wanted to take the holistic approach.  I began eating whole foods with no pesticides or hormones, juicing and eliminating sugar and other things that fed the tumors. I started a moderate exercise program, yoga, along with prayer and meditation and made a concerted effort to keep stress at bay.  I immediately started feeling better, my energy returned and the doctors are now amazed at my test results and vital signs.

Cancer has been a door to many blessings in my life.  Even times of pain and adversity can be seen as opportunities for growth for which I can be grateful.  My wonderful friends at the Inns at Montpelier held my hand every step of the way.  They brought flowers, fresh eggs, food and provided on-going therapeutic massage which was all part of the healing package.  My church family did all lawn work, made me a prayer quilt, catered to my every whim and prayed without ceasing.  My neighbors showed up on my doorstep often with bucket and cleaning supplies in one hand and comfort food in the other.  One is an oncology nurse and she dressed my wounds and gave much-needed advice.  My mother and my daughters, sisters, brothers and extended family provided support in every way possible.  The outpouring of love simply cannot be described.  I could go on forever.

The take-away message here is, after a long roller-coaster ride, I’M OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  The year 2012 brought two major storms ripping apart the Old Mill House…After coming very close to closing permanently, I’m eager to dive in and once again start enjoying guests and providing them with a place not only to lay their heads at night but also to drink in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounding creeks and river and nature at its finest, a place I appreciate more than ever.”

If you would like to contact Dream about reserving a room at the Old Mill House, you can send her an email at or give her a call at 540- 948-6287.


Photo by Fernando Hernandez Photography LLC (

Photo by Fernando Hernandez Photography LLC (

Lung Cancer Awareness, 2011

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The month of November is both Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and this blog will focus on lung cancer awareness.

Anyone who has fought cancer or known someone with cancer understands how devastating it can be, and the statistics for lung cancer are pretty staggering. In the United States, lung cancer is the “leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,” and is responsible for one in three cancer deaths. As of 2009, it kills an average of 437 people daily.

Making healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking can seriously reduce the risk of getting lung cancer, as can regular checkups at the doctor’s office. The Lung Cancer Alliance emphasizes the importance of early detection, which increases the 10-year survival rate to 92%.

Perhaps this seems like nothing but numbers and redundant advice that you’ve heard many times before. But because this is the month for awareness, we here at the BBAV encourage you to support those in the fight against lung cancer. While we are a group that delights in travel and vacation, we cannot forget those who are unable to partake in these activities due to their illness. And so we remember them with our support, our thoughts, and our prayers as they face an uncertain future.


By Tara Stoll