Families faced with childhood cancer are often stretched emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually – sometimes even to the breaking point. In March of 2010, Blue Skies Ministries was launched to bring the hope of Christ to families living through pediatric cancer.
Our vision is to lift families above the clouds and help them “retreat” from life’s storms. Blue Skies offers retreats to help families heal and find hope. Around twelve families join us at the beach for a retreat where they play, laugh, and reconnect as a family. Because of generous donations, families are able to attend at no cost to them beyond their transportation to and from the retreat.
Volunteers at the retreat help care for the families and not only give their time, but also raise financial support to help cover their costs to attend. They serve the families in tangible ways freeing them from the burdens of daily tasks. Families are welcomed in a safe and nurturing environment, where the staff understands their child’s needs, allowing them to relax and engage in a fun-filled retreat and bond with other families on kindred journeys.
Many others help make the retreats possible by giving of their time and resources too. They give, because like us, they believe that families who are facing even the most difficult circumstances can find strength and renewal through the love of Christ.
Helping sick children laugh and play again
Our hope is that the children who are sick will laugh and play again; that siblings, who often compete with illness, will feel cherished and valued; that marriages and families would be strengthened; and, most importantly, that each person would connect with their Heavenly Father.
Meet the McLean family and learn more about Blue Skies.
My husband and I both grew up in Georgia and were married in 1995. Three kids later we were living in Kentucky trying to decide what God wanted us to do next in our lives when we received news that would change us forever. In April of 2007, our three-year old son, Nathan, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a serious form of pediatric cancer. He went through several surgeries, chemo, radiation, and two bone marrow transplants and spent an entire year in isolation because of a suppressed immune system. Needless to say, at the end of this our family was tired – physically and emotionally – and we felt very disconnected from the world.
In the summer of 2009, we were able to get away as a family to spend a week at the beach. I’ll never forget when I stepped onto the sand for the first time and looked out over the ocean. The sea and the blue sky seemed to go on forever, and it was a very clear reminder that God is big, that He has the whole world in His enormous hands, and that included me, my son Nathan, and our entire family. That trip gave us a chance to laugh, play, relax, and heal as a family. Blue Skies was created to give other families like ours the opportunity to be “normal” for a week and to spend time with others who understand this difficult journey. Blue Skies is also a ministry to point these people who may be broken and empty back towards a God who cares, who is in control, and who loves them—no matter what their circumstances look like.
Our son Nathan has been cancer-free now for over 2 years. We are very thankful to be where we are but our journey will continue with frequent testing and scans to make sure the beast has not come back. We have made it this far by trusting that God’s grace is sufficient for us and that He will never leave or forsake us. This is the truth, the peace, and the healing that Blue Skies can offer to families who are walking through the valley of pediatric cancer.–The McLean Family (Brad, Amanda, Jordan, Nathan and Greta)