More than 500 families, businesses, churches, civic groups and community leaders embraced the mission to bring the hope of Christ to families faced with life-threatening pediatric illnesses and founded Blue Skies Ministries.
Blue Skies Ministries was founded in March 2010 by a community of volunteers with overflowing hearts to help others. Early on, an amazing Board composed of an attorney, medical professionals, business leaders, as well as a pastor and father of a child with cancer gave their wisdom, time and resources to establish Blue Skies Ministries, Inc. Hundreds of
others joined the cause with financial gifts, business skills, and volunteering of their time, both at retreats and behind the scenes. In less than one year, these generous supporters brought nearly $100,000 to Blue Skies which enabled us to launch the ministry and host two retreats.
A member of our Board and a ministry volunteer, Melinda Mayton, serves as the President and CEO of Blue Skies. Melinda worked for more than a decade as a pediatric nurse at the bedside caring for kids with cancer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She witnessed the devastation that cancer brings to the entire family. She saw families stretched physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually, sometimes even to the breaking point. In response to their pain and inspired by God, Melinda founded and ran a nonprofit to serve children with cancer and their families for over 10 years. Compelled to help more families and further the vision, Melinda began to envision Blue Skies.
Terri Daniel, who now serves on the Blue Skies staff, has been with the ministry since its inception and was a partner with the Board in founding Blue Skies. As a breast cancer survivor, she has a clear understanding of the effect cancer has not only on the patient but everyone in the family. Two others have joined the staff of Blue Skies in the last year and are working together along with hundreds of volunteers to bring the hope of Christ to families walking through the valley of childhood cancer.
The support Blue Skies receives from national and local businesses considerably reduces retreat costs. Some of the national retreat supporters are Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, St. Joe Properties/Windmark Beach and Southern Resorts. Local businesses in Port St. Joe, Florida who have come along side the mission include Seahorse Safaris, Piggly Wiggly, The Chair on Reid, First Methodist Church of Port St. Joe, School of Fish, Sunset Grill and many others.
During our first season, we hosted two retreats and served 21 families from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana. The inaugural retreat was held May 2010 in the community of Windmark Beach in Port St. Joe, Florida. The second retreat was held in the same community in September 2010. In our second season, we hosted four retreats at Windmark Beach and served around 45 families. Now we are busy planning five retreats for Season 3 including a mountain retreat in the Fall of 2012. Check back soon for our 2012 schedule!