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.
Our mission is to bring the hope of Christ to families living through the challenges of pediatric cancer so that children who are sick will laugh and play and feel “normal” again; that siblings, who often compete with cancer, will feel cherished and get to have uninterrupted family fun; that moms and dads will grow strong and begin lifelong friendships with others on Kindred Journeys; and, most importantly, that everyone at Blue Skies will experience the love of our Heavenly Father.