The Hall Family

Matt & Brady Hall have three sons: Sanders (10) and twins Sawyer and Ship (9)! Brady says her favorite part about coming on retreat was being able to meet Melissa Simmons, another cancer mom. “We had been in contact over the phone for a while,” Brandy said, “Meeting face to face on the beach...I’ll never forget that hug. Being able to meet a lifelong words to describe!” The boys enjoyed swimming during flip flop and the talent show!

“There are no words to decscribe the joy of Lighthouse. Not at the fault of anyone, but friends tend to drift after months of walking through a child on treatment. As a family, the world continues to go, but you are in the world of cancer. We will never forget what it meant to have complete strangers be the hands and feet of Jesus. It truly was a respite during a much needed time of our life!


Brady says to other families considering attending a Lighthouse Retreat, “Don't hesitate. Having people accept you and love you...and not be afraid to serve you. Such a blessing. We loved Lighthouse so much that my older son, Sanders, and I decided to come back and serve this past summer. Hoping to one day bring the whole family back.” - The Hall Family

Katelyn DeVos
The Sica Family

“My daughter Melissa and myself (Von) have attended the single Mom’s retreats with my granddaughter, Millie , in both 2018 and 2019. It’s hard to put into words the joy and hope that comes from attending a Lighthouse Family Retreat. Both summers we have had the most amazing family partners that have given of themselves fully to help our family have rest and restored hope during our stay and beyond. Their faith in God shines through their giving and love.

“We have so many special memories from our retreats. The most special is seeing the happiness on Millie’s face as she has performed in the talent shows. This last summer she taught her group how to Salsa. She has been taking ballroom dancing lessons for several months and even though she is legally blind from her brain tumor, she has found that dance brings so much joy. I have watched the video a hundred times and heard the other families and partners cheering for her group. It a beyond special memory for Millie. One she’ll remember forever. We are so thankful for Lighthouse Family Retreats and we have shared with other cancer families about this special week and how it will benefit their family. Thank you again for all you do!” - The Sica Family

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Katelyn DeVos
The Pottorf Family

“Hi!! We are the Pottorf Family and went to Lighthouse Retreat 16 in 2019!! We are a family of 10, but 9 of us were able to come. Joseph is our youngest boy of our 8 children and got diagnosed with a pineal parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation at the age of six (2017). It was found by accident when they did an MRI for his Arnold chiari malformation. Since diagnosis he has had 8 surgeries in less than a year and his 9th was done in January. He has also had to have 30 days of proton therapy radiation and a month of inpatient therapy.


“Our favorite memory of the retreat was the awesome people we got the pleasure of meeting and the fact that we could all be together and having fun outside of a doctor's office or hospital setting. Our kids got really attached to the kids from our host families and loved hanging out with them!! They also LOVED being on the beach and swimming in the ocean!


“Lighthouse to us means that there is healing with God and with the help of awesome people. It wasn't just a vacation. It was an awaking of our minds,hearts, and spirits. Other people need this break, they will find peace and rest while here and that it is important for your family to have time like this together. It is also nice to meet people in the same or similar situations to know that you are not alone in what you are dealing with. Lighthouse helped us more than just with the rest we needed from what we are going through with Joseph. My husband had lost his mother the day we were leaving to come to the retreat. Everyone was so supportive and it really helped our family work through it.” - The Pottorf Family

The Pottorf Family is Going Gold with Lighthouse during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by raising money to send another family on retreat. Please consider donating at the link below!

Katelyn DeVos
The Lambert Family

“We went on Retreat 16 in 2018. We live in Central Florida have been serving in a church/Christian school for the past 10 years. We have two children, Luke who is our cancer survivor, he is 5 and just started school! Selah is our little princess and will be 2 in January!


“ Our favorite memory was getting to worship and sing on the beach. Luke’s favorite memory was the birthday party and swimming! Lighthouse was such an amazing experience and refreshing time to talk with others who understand us and to feel relaxed for one week! I would encourage any and every family with a child with cancer to go to Lighthouse! It’s a MUST-have experience. It is life changing! Meeting other families and getting to know their stories was so helpful to know we’re not alone.” - The Lambert Family

The Lambert Family is Going Gold and is raising money to send another family on retreat! Please consider donating to them below.

Katelyn DeVos
The Nordeen Family

“My name is J.D. Nordeen and my wife Bethany and I have three children. Ava is seven, Emma is five, and Harrison is three. Ava was diagnosed with an atypical meningioma brain tumor when she was three. Since then she has had three brain surgeries and 60 rounds of proton radiation. Our family has been blessed by God to attend two Lighthouse Family Retreats. We first attended Retreat 18 in September of 2018. And seven months later we were back for Retreat 2 in April of 2019.”

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Our favorite memories of the retreats are the worship nights and the kids love Flip Flop. We have experienced a lot of support and generosity since Ava was diagnosed. But being surrounded and served by the body and love of Christ at Lighthouse has been the best thing that we have experienced. I would encourage another family to apply for a Lighthouse Family Retreat because it might be the best thing to come from very difficult circumstances. Lighthouse has a huge impact on the entire family!” - The Nordeen Family

The Nordeen Family is Going Gold with Lighthouse this September and is fundraising to help send another family on retreat for a week. Donate at the link below!

Katelyn DeVos
The James Family

“We went in 2018 to Lighthouse family Retreat 14 at Topsl Resort in Destin, Florida. We had to reschedule once because of treatment. Our family consisted of me Amber, my husband Brian, our 12 year old Erika, and our would be 18 year old Laura. Laura was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in May 2017. She passed away October 8th of 2018 just 2 months after we had our retreat.


“She was in a wheelchair and they were able to get a beach wheelchair so she could still enjoy full access to the beach. She had a lot of fun doing some people watching and hanging out with kids her own age during the day. Erika loved the beach and playing with the other kids. It was a lot of fun for the kids and really good for the adults, too. Your whole day isn’t overtaken with thoughts of appointments and meds. The time the parents got to spend together was great. We bonded and made friendships that we will keep forever. Having someone to talk to who can relate with your struggles is wonderful and priceless. The atmosphere is not sad or depressing.


“The talent show was a blast! The resort itself was absolutely amazing! It was the most beautiful place we have ever been and we are so, so grateful to Lighthouse Family Retreats for making it possible for us to go. When your child is going through something like this, you hesitate wondering if they will be okay away from home. They have a nurse on the staff and so much help. They never missed a beat. Our Family Partners were the best! Lighthouse has become a symbol of hope and faith in my family. I highly suggest you let these wonderful people take care of your family for a week. God works in amazing ways through these people. It builds your faith and hope and helps you keep going.” - Amber James

Katelyn DeVos
The Escobar Family

The Escobar Family is from California and attended Retreat 4 this past year. Juan and Rachel have been married for 13 years and have two kids: Carter 9 and Peyton 7. Carter was diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in July of 2018 and is currently in treatment. Juan and Rachel’s favorite memory is watching their kids run and play, especially Carter who hadn’t played with other kids in a long time! They also really enjoyed their time spent in Common Ground as it allowed them to talk about what they were all going through with people that actually understand what they are going through. Carter and Peyton enjoyed the Unbirthday Party and Talent Show the most! In the Talent Show Carter told jokes and Peyton sang and danced with her friend Hannah, the whole room loved it!


“It was the only time in the last year when we actually relaxed. No laundry, dishes, cooking, hospital — it was a refresh we desperately needed. It is everything you don’t know you need while on treatment. Outpouring of love and service. We have made lifelong friends with our retreat partner families! We are still in touch and they have been such a blessing to us.” - The Escobar Family

The Escobar Family has decided to Go Gold this September and is raising money to send another family on retreat! Please consider donating below!

Katelyn DeVos
The Esco Family

Tim and Marianne Esco have been married 30 years this year and we have 3 kids- Jessica, Christine, and T.J. They joined Lighthouse this past year on Retreat 5. Their favorite memory from retreat was being able to relax and relate to others that understand what they are going through. T.J enjoyed swimming and being normal most!


“ It was a wonderful vacation that we were able to relax and also talk with others that understand our journey. I immediately came back and told all our families as well as social worker what an amazing time we had and how you won’t experience anything else like it. We are still close with our partner families. They were so sweet and kind. They made the experience even more special.” - The Esco Family

Katelyn DeVos
The Gibson Family

“We are the Gibsons from Festus Missouri. Ryan is an HVAC service technician and Melanie is a pediatric registered nurse. Vinny is age 4 and Dominic is age 2. Our boys are full of so much energy! Our family is very close. We spend all of our free time together. We enjoy going to local parks, the zoo and science center and just enjoying each other. Dominic was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in December 2017. His cancer returned after full resection in April 2018. He underwent another surgery, followed by 4 rounds of chemotherapy. We just his first year in remission!


“This cancer journey has taught us to never take for granted a single moment of time with your family. Hold your babies tight and thank God for each and every day that you get to spend with them. Each day is a gift. My favorite memory of retreat was the beach party when I got to sit and watch my boys play with the other kids, completely care-free. Ryan really enjoyed the date night and getting to spend time with some of the other parents and each other. They enjoed every moment! Vinny’s favorite memory was when he took his finger and swiped whip cream off Pastor Adams face and then ate it. He talks about it all of the time as well as the lighthouse songs that they both love to sing. Dominic enjoyed the beach and the sand and going crab hunting at night.


“Lighthouse will forever be a part of our family. We connected to so many other parents and it was an experience unlike any other. It was truly inspiring to see these family partners taking such good care of all the retreat families. Witnessing teenagers being so selfless and just doing good for others is so incredible. The entire lighthouse experience brought us closer together as a family. It allowed us to just press pause for a moment and experience joy and rest with each other. Lighthouse means love, rest and family time to us. No matter how busy, or how out of reach this trip may feel, take the time to apply. Enjoy restoration and love and joy with your family. We are all too familiar with how life can be so short and how things can change in the blink of an eye. Just stop for a moment and enjoy each other. It will make the world of difference.


“We would like to, again, thank everyone who made this experience happen for us. We will forever be so grateful to each and every one of you. Please know the imprint you have all left on our hearts. You are all incredible people.” - The Gibson Family

Lighthouse would like to say an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Vinny on September 12th!

Katelyn DeVos
The Stanley Family

The Stanley Family attended a Retreat with Lighthouse in 2019. They are a family of 4, Jose, Adrianna, Maria and Elliana. They love to adventure out in the mountains or out on the lakes of Salt Lake City, UT. When Elliana turned 1, they had to put all adventures on the back burner to help Elli beat her battle against Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a brain tumor. She went through 9 surgeries, 6 rounds of chemo, 1 stem cell transplant, and so much more to finally finish treatment on August 31st, 2018. She was declared cancer free in December of 2018 as well. They have been making up for missed time ever since. Elliana learned to walk in hospital halls and her favorite toys were medical tools, but she never stopped being the greatest joy in everyone's life who knows her.


“Our favorite memory was when we all got to go down to the beach with the other families in the late evenings. We all got to sit together and watch our children be the miracles they truly are. We went fishing, built sandcastles, and looked at fish through a scuba mask. It was nothing short of heavenly. Lighthouse meant EVERYTHING to us. One thing that happens alot when you have a child who has cancer is you feel alone. You feel like you could never possibly be understood. I mean, how can anyone understand the pain you carry in your heart? But the retreat gave us a sense of normalcy, belonging, and peace. It gave us relaxation and restoration. It will forever be one of my favorite memories.”


To any families living through childhood cancer: If you need healing, go. If you need support, go. If you need love, go. If you need nothing but a good time, go. There is no place on earth I would suggest more than The Lighthouse Retreat. Not only being able to be on the beach with your family, but to be able to find a community that loves you and wants to serve you completely so you can finally take a deep breath and truly relax.

We have found a sense of wanting to serve others. You dont realize how much of an impact you can have on other's lives until you have been through it yourself and watched other serve you and the lasting impact it has on your heart.

- The Stanley Family

The Stanley Family has decided to Go Gold this September with a goal of raising $500 to go towards sending another family on retreat. Please consider donating at the link below.

Katelyn DeVos
The Gray Family

The Gray family is a family of 4 from Phoenix that joined Lighthouse on Retreat 13 in 2019. John and Lindsey met in law school, got married, and now both practice law in Phoenix (but not together, since they want to stay married!) God blessed John and Lindsey with two girls, Lily and Lincoln. The girls have their own personalities, but both bring more joy to John and Lindsey than words can describe. On the night before Thanksgiving 2016, the Gray family was preparing to travel to California for the holiday, when their pediatrician called and told them to go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital immediately. There, 2-year-old Lily learned that she had leukemia. That began a two-and-a-half-year journey of surgeries, needles, chemo drugs, hair loss, personality changes, physical changes, and everything in between.

The Gray family will never forget the very first time Lily was set to go under general anesthetic so that the doctors could stick a needle in her hip to take bone marrow and stick another needle in her spinal fluid to inject chemotherapy drugs. Unphased by the fluorescent lights and fear the overcome her parents, Lily sang these words from one of her favorite songs, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God!” And suddenly, everything felt better. Throughout the whole thing, Lily stayed strong and today is in remission.

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“We loved  how the retreat made us feel. More than one specific moment, having people care for us, do things for us, and befriend us made us feel loved and relaxed. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, we won’t remember everything that people said or did at Lighthouse, but we’ll never forget how they made us feel. The kids loved meeting new friends and going to Flip Flop. They liked hanging out at the beach with their parents, but that was clearly second or third on the list of favorites. Lighthouse was a rejuvenating experience for our family---physically, mentally, and spiritually. We hope to be able to help others have the same experience. Would you rather have a relaxing time at the beach with your family with people who will care for you, or would you rather do something else?” - The Gray Family

The Gray Family has decided to Go Gold with Lighthouse this month and is fundraising to send another family going through what they went through are on retreat. Help them reach their goal of $500 by donating below!

Katelyn DeVos
The Stewart Family

“Our family is comprised of myself, husband, Woody, 4yro daughter, Lily, & 2 chiweenies, Yoda & Kit. We reside in Alexandria, VA, just outside of Washington, DC. I’m a 5th grade teacher, Woody works at MGM National Harbor in the poker room, & Lily is about to start year 2 of Preschool. It’s hard to pick 1 favorite memory of the retreat, to be honest. It all was so amazing! I think the time spent with the other parents may be one of the memories that sticks with me the most because we got to see inside other people’s lives that we’re going through similar things. It made us feel not as alone & build a larger community, even family. We still keep in touch with several of the families & have since gotten together with one of them while traveling. The group is hoping to have a reunion in the next few years when it’s financially & medically feasible. Lily’s favorite memory was going to the pool & beach! She loved playing with friends & the beach was her first visit! I’d guess that singing the Lighthouse song was also a favorite, since she still randomly sings it. 


Lighthouse meant so much to us! As mentioned above, it was nice to get a sense of normalcy & hearing that things we experienced & felt was not something we were alone in. We also say that our family & hearts grew after being on the retreat! We added so many more people to our inner circle, from the volunteers to the families visiting. It was a wonderful time to just relax! A trip we couldn’t have done on our own! We got to feel normal & spend time together away from home. We got to expand our circle, our community, relax. We are so very thankful for the opportunity we received going to this! It’s crazy to think that people are raising money & giving up part of their summer to serve us! How wonderful & amazing they are!” - Christina Stewart


“The sense of giving that was shown by the Family Partners was moving and the bonding we made with the other families is priceless (One of the other dads and I try to see how many different ways we can fit “Bro” into our ways of saying hello, ie: A-Bro-Ham Lincoln is my current go to).

My PERSONAL favorite memories were the dad’s poker night (the bonding was great and I got to teach the other dads how to play), the parent’s night out dinner date, and the video memory package at the end of the retreat, it had us all (from me the smallest guy there to my A-Bro-Ham, James Snead who was the biggest) in tears to see our children full of life and smiling like there was never any cancer, they were just kids again.” - Woody Stewart

The Stewart family has decided to help raise funds during September to go towards sending another family on retreat. Please consider helping them reach their $500 goal by donating below. Thank you!

Katelyn DeVos
The McWhorter Family

Aiden McWhorter is in treatment for Stage 4 High Rick Neuroblastoma. He was 19 months old when their family attended retreat 8 in 2019. The week prior to retreat, he received his first set of clean scans, so a week on retreat was a nice vacation to celebrate on!

Aiden’s Mom, Sarah, say her favorite memory from retreat was, “Seeing everyone love on our Aiden as he was the dancer of the group that demands attention at all times.” They also enjoyed being surrounded by love and happiness all week long!

To the McWhorter family, Lighthouse is “a safe harbor where cancer doesn’t exist, memories are made, and there is no shortage of love and beaches.”


Sarah says that if you are a family living through childhood cancer that is thinking about apply, “DO IT! It is life changing to see so many willing to serve and love your family. It provides rest for your soul, and memories that last a life time.”

Thank you McWhorter Family for Going Gold!

Katelyn DeVosComment