Insider's Guide to Spas
Hiatus San Antonio, Photography by Molly Culver

Doing Good

How To Save A Life: Hiatus Spa & The Peabody Fund

Becca Hensley

When Kristin Heaton Peabody and Sheila Garrison decided to put the newest outpost of their innovative, Texas-born-and-based spa brand, Hiatus, in San Antonio, they reveled in the opportunity to share wellness with the vibrant, multi-cultural Alamo City. They chose to partner with The Pearl, a New Urban-style community and commercial enclave, located riverside, downtown, hewed from the bones of an abandoned brewery.

Philosophically drawn to the deep historical roots, sustainability, and artistic nature of the revitalization project, the friends and spa mavens, opted to carefully reference the past with industrial architectural elements, while maintaining a tranquil sanctuary for repose throughout. With 13 treatment rooms—including a couple’s suite with starlit ceiling—Hiatus exudes airiness and serenity, via natural stone, wood, and pale hues. Paintings by watercolorist Jan Heaton, Peabody’s mother, have the spiritually harmonizing effect of a tuning fork. .

A Spa Brand Born from the Soul

Hiatus has always been more than a pretty face. Each spa (they have branches in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, as well) was born from a place of soulfulness. Hiatus, according to Peabody, provided a way to do her part to make the world a better place— to offer people the opportunity to be still, if for just a bit. She envisioned providing a safe place for people to test out their interior selves, a hideaway from the world’s rough edges. She wanted guests to be encouraged to peel the external layers, and to discover their vulnerable, yet more awakened, core.

“We thought we could achieve that with an experiential, subscription-based, full-service day spa,” says Peabody, who notes that Hiatus’ award-winning wellness plan was the first of its kind in the country. At Hiatus, the H-Circle, makes frequent spa visits affordable. The first day spa in San Antonio to offer a monthly wellness plan with special membership pricing, Hiatus exemplifies the founders’ belief that “regular relaxation is part of a healthier, happier lifestyle, and that taking care of yourself should be easy, affordable, and fun.”

Spa for a Cause

In October, Hiatus Spas across Texas promote Spa for a Cause, in which they take 20 percent off services, with 20 percent going to the Peabody Fund. They’ve always been a generous business. But this time Hiatus has a personal stake—saving the life of co-founder, Kristin Heaton Peabody. Diagnosed with Stage-4 metastatic parotid cancer—a rare head and neck “orphan” cancer that is often overlooked in clinical trials. Peabody has been fighting the disease since 2009.

Diagnosed when Peabody was 23 weeks pregnant (she has a healthy son, Heaton, who gives her the will to battle), she has had more than eight surgeries, chemotherapy, and 90 radiation treatments. Conventional treatment is no longer an option. At this time, she has been accepted (along with nine other people) for a clinical trail, a personalized approach to cancer treatment, a bespoke vaccine cure, which will take $1,100,000 to bring to fruition.

“I am leading the cause to bring this personal vaccine to trial for ten people,” shares Peabody. “This is by far the most cutting-edge treatment that could be available to cancer patients of every type. It’s not about curing brain cancer or breast cancer, or even head and neck cancer like I have. This vaccine treatment is about treating ‘your’ cancer and no one else. That is why it is so important to the future of cancer treatment and research. ”

Help Fight Cancer: Donations Needed by November 31st

For years, Peabody has given her heart and soul to helping others. Please consider helping her now, as well as the nine other patients. Consider contributing to the future of fighting this devastating disease by contributing as soon as possible to the Peabody Fund. The goal is to raise the money by November 31. The fundraiser includes some exceptional gifts for your donations, but the true reward will know you’ve helped institute personal vaccines, a treatment that will someday cure everyone in need.

How to donate? You can give any amount at to select a gift option, or go straight to the Peabody Personalized Vaccine Project at UCSD’s website—here you’ll also have employer matching and monthly contribution options. For more information, read the fundraising letters from Kristin Peabody and her mother, Jan Heaton. You may also want to follow Peabody’s Blog, Sticking Around for Awhile.

How can you help Kristin?

• Donate at

• Donate at UCSD/Peabody Fund UCSD fund page

If you work for a large national company, there may be employer matching.

If you need a tax receipt, please donate here. (Enter your gift selection in the comments field)

• Share Kristin’s story with your friends. A new blog post will be coming out in two days. Kristin’s Blog | Sticking Around for a While

• Share our images. We have Dropbox Images we can share with you

• Talk to your friends and family.

• Join our team.

•And if you have any questions at all, please contact Peabody’s mother, Jan:

• Think Big. Think Moonshot. Think Cure.

A Letter from Jan Heaton

Ever had the chance to save someone’s life? How about ten?

I am sending this letter to my best friends. My Super Team Kristin. Everyone I love always asks me, How can I help Kristin? And I am never sure what to recommend, but I do now.

As you know, my dear daughter has stage 4 metastatic parotid cancer, a rare head and neck cancer. Kristin was diagnosed with a third recurrence six months ago. She is no longer a candidate for conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. A strong and determined woman, with a warrior’s spirit, she has been in a clinical trial treatment since April 1, 2017 at University of California San Diego – Moores Cancer Center. The cancer is stable but we want more. She has every reason to want to live, not the least being her husband Wyatt, and their seven-year-old, Heaton. There is nothing she wants more than to see Heaton grow up, attend college, have a career, and start a family of his own. It’s what we all want for our lives. And, what we all want for her family. Together, we have the ability to make this happen.

We just launched the Peabody Fund—The Cancer Vaccine Project. The purpose is to raise $1,100,000 in the next three months. This money will give ten patients, including Kristin, the opportunity to be in a personal vaccine clinical trial at UCSD, a treatment that is the future for cancer care and eradication. Through the research of Dr. Ezra Cohen, one of the leading oncologists in personalized immunotherapy, and $1,100,000 in project funds, this trial can get off the ground. This is how it works: The concept is to create a personalized vaccine, specifically formatted to an individual’s genetic sequencing and the specific mutation of their cancer. There is much research behind this technique, but this would be one of only a handful of trials—with all doctors racing to find the cure. It can be the difference between life and death. Unfortunately time is not on our side. We must move quickly.

During the past year, I have been painting watercolor mandalas. Their spherical positive images and repetitive patterns have brought me a small dose of tranquility. I have always believed that art heals. This time I am painting to save my daughter’s life. To show our heartfelt appreciation for your donation, we are offering limited edition, signed prints of three watercolor mandalas, as a gift at various donation levels. There are other incentive gifts also listed on the Generosity page with more to come.

Today, you may have seen Kristin’s Facebook shares with information about this fundraiser—on (the main fundraising page), the Youtube channel, the fundraising Facebook page (please like and share!), the UCSD fund page, Kristin’s Blog | Sticking Around for a While, (if you’re already following,) and, of course, Instagram.

If you are interested in helping, all we ask is that you are willing to share, share, share and promote in any way you can; Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, email, Kristin’s blog— any of it and all of it would be so appreciated. We know you’re all busy with your own hectic lives, so we understand if you can do just a little.

We believe in the power of positive thinking and community support—and it does take a village. We know our strength and success comes from our friends and family—and all those who love Kristin and her sweet family. Please know that you will not only be helping Kristin, but nine other patients involved in this trial, and also advancing a groundbreaking cure for cancer, a disease that has sadly touched all of our lives.

If you have any questions at all, just send me an email.

A Letter from Kristin

Today I am asking your help to give generously to the future of cancer treatment. It begins with me and nine other deserving patients at the University of California San Diego. This is the most advanced, personalized approach to cancer treatment, to date. And it’s going to take $1,100,000 to bring it to fruition.

Can you help us raise $1,100,000 for a personalized vaccine trial and know that you helped fund the future of a cure?

In this groundbreaking trial, each person will receive a personalized vaccine that has been created based on their individual genomics, and the specific mutations in their cancer. This is no longer a treatment focused on curing a body part. This is the future of cancer treatment.

The moneys that we raise will directly fund a personalized vaccine trial lead by Dr. Ezra Cohen—UCSD Associate Director of Translational Science, and co-Director of the newly established San Diego Center for Personalized Immunotherapy—who is doing some of the most innovative work in cancer research today. Dr. Cohen and colleagues’ laboratory-proven science hypothesizes that this personalized vaccine could reactivate a T-cell immune response, in which a patient’s own immune system would find and eliminate their cancer. Most importantly, this vaccine, which is based on the specific DNA of each individual cancer, will keep the disease from coming back.

I clearly have a personal gain in this trial, in which I will be one of ten people to participate. I have Stage-4 metastatic parotid cancer—a rare head and neck “orphan” cancer that is often overlooked in clinical trials. I was originally diagnosed in 2009, when I was twenty-three weeks pregnant and since that time have had over eight surgeries, chemotherapy and 90 (!) radiation treatments. I am no longer a candidate for conventional treatment to cure my active cancer. My healthy son, who is almost eight years old, has traveled this journey with my husband, Wyatt and me. Parotid cancer generally has a five-year survival rate, so I am definitely a survivor at eight years. But I’d like to live another 40 and see my son grow up and go to college, get married, and make me a grandmother some day.

This trial means the difference between life and death for me and for the others who will be participating, so I humbly ask for your help. Why $1,100,000? It will cost slightly more than $100,000 per person with all the expenses of the personal vaccine. This will also help cover the cost of the fundraising effort expenses—the 3 percent+ fee for, and some donation items that are not fully funded.

Cancer touches all our lives today. One in three people will receive a diagnosis in their lifetime, so any advancement in a cure could benefit your friends, your family, and even you. In the past five years, we have seen targeted treatments, immunotherapy, and many exciting new treatments in trial and for use in real life with real patients. But the real power is in the individual’s genomic sequencing—after all, we are each unique human beings, no two alike.

In this fundraiser, I have put together some exceptional gifts for your donations! I hope you will give BIG and enjoy these wonderful items, including new Mandala signed, limited-edition prints by Austin artist, Jan Heaton, Hiatus Spa + Retreat packages, and raffles for original artwork and spa memberships. And new donations will be coming in, so check back often! You can give at to select a gift option, or go straight to the Peabody Personalized Vaccine Project at UCSD’s website—here you’ll also have employer matching and monthly contribution options.

If we can unlock the power of personal vaccines, this could be the future of cancer cures for every person. Is that not worth every dollar you give? Our goal is steep—$1,100,000 by November 31, 2017. Please share with your friends—our YouTube channel, Facebook, Email, and Instagram.

Thanking you from the bottom of my heart,

Kristin Peabody

Becca Hensley

Becca Hensley

Based in Austin, Contributing Editor Becca Hensley writes regularly about travel and spas. She believes a good story draws you in like laughter in a crowded room, and challenges you to do it justice. Her work appears regularly in Austin Monthly, Travel Channel, Toronto Star and National Geographic Traveler.