When Vanessa Mitchell-Delmotte found out that her dad, Patrick Mitchell, was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she was devastated. But she was also determined to fill his final days with love and adventure.


To make that happen, she first decided to take the month of December off of work. After that, she had to figure out how that time would be spent, something much easier said than done. Instead of figuring it out alone, she reached out for ideas in a local Facebook group.


“My dear dad has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’m taking December off of work to enjoy some bucket list activities with him. Anyone have ideas?” she wrote on Facebook.

Within minutes, her post had been flooded with suggestions of all kinds, many of which had been offered to them free of charge.

“It blew our minds,” she said. “I was just scrolling and scrolling. I was so overwhelmed by people’s generosity.”

patrick at navi squadron
Patrick at a private tour of a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron


Among the offers was a private tour of a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron, which was perfect for Patrick, who enjoyed “all things Navy-related.” In addition to checking out a helicopter hangar, they got an inside look at the fleet of aircraft as well.


Additionally, Stephen, an executive at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, gave them tickets to a Las Vegas show.

Even though Vanessa and Patrick didn’t know much about the UFC at the time, they were both delighted to have the opportunity. Moreover, they ended up becoming “mega fans” by the end of that match.

At UFC show in Las Vegas
At UFC show in Las Vegas

They were able to check another big adventure off their list because of the show in Las Vegas: visiting Paris. Or, in this case, the Paris Las Vegas hotel.
Although Patrick had been hoping to visit Paris again, with his limited travel options, this was the next best thing. After all, it turned out to be a great alternative, especially since their room provided a perfect view of the replica Eiffel Tower.

The activities became more limited as Patrick’s health declined, but that didn’t make them any less valuable.

Patrick passed away peacefully on January 11, 2022, after 72 years filled with adventures. Vanessa and the rest of his loved ones wished they had more time with him, but the time they spent together will never be forgotten.

“Dad said, ‘We are what we leave behind,’” Vanessa recalled. “And he is leaving behind a very strong legacy.”


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