In 1987, Melinda Mayton began her nursing career at the bedside caring for children with cancer. Over time, advances in medicine allowed many children to recover. However, the impact of cancer on the families was devastating and still is today. Too often families are pulled apart by this dreaded disease. Melinda was compelled to help them. Her vision was to take them away from stress, their world of hospitals, pain, and chaos to a place filled with love, laughter, and hope. She began this journey in 1999 and continues to live out this calling.
In March 2010, Melinda, along with a devoted group of men and women founded Blue Skies. Now thousands have joined the cause and are committed to bring the hope of Christ to families living through the challenges of childhood cancer at weeklong beach retreats.
At each retreat, twelve families from all over the U.S. experience a real vacation at no expense to them. Parents and children spend a week with others facing similar challenges, people who can truly relate. As a domestic mission trip, Blue Skies is staffed with volunteers who serve by cooking, cleaning and caring for our guest families so they can focus on having fun together! From a warm welcome at our pool party to our Red, White, and Blue Skies parade, flying kites at the beach, poolside movies, boat outings right through the balloon release and hugs goodbye, each retreat is filled with activities that give families a chance to leave their cares behind, meet new friends and just have fun.
Families share that Blue Skies “is the oasis my family needed”; “strengthens us to keep going”; “helps us laugh again, for the first time in a long while”; “helps my children feel special”. Some parents even share that they “got their child back” as they watched their child play and make friends as they had done before cancer so dramatically changed their lives.
Our vision is big – to offer Blue Skies to every family living through pediatric cancer – and, we are dedicated to this dream.
Melinda Mayton, written in 1998
Can you imagine hearing the doctor say, "I'm sorry, your child has cancer."
Can you imagine watching your child going bald, getting stared at or being treated unkindly?
Can you imagine the weariness of sleepless nights, hospital smells,
losing control of your world?
Can you imagine living with unspeakable anger or just wondering "Why?"
Can you imagine your family growing apart?
Now, just imagine a place of retreat.
Imagine a place by the sea where the warm sun, rolling waves and ocean breezes rejuvenate you,
where the sunset brings peace to your soul.
Imagine a place where you and your children can laugh and play together,
where family relationships are restored.
Imagine a place where you can share with others facing similar challenges,
where caring friends walk beside you.
Imagine a place where volunteers serve you willingly and joyfully,
a place where the staff understands your child's needs.
Imagine a place where the spirit of God resides to heal and restore,
a place of comfort and encouragement.