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Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Hello, my name is Hamilton Jansen. In the summer of 2019, I served as a volunteer at Lighthouse Family Retreat. I remember my parents telling me that we were going, just the three of us, without my two younger brothers to a place called Lighthouse. It’s purpose is to serve families who had kids with cancer. Would you have been nervous to go be around families with children who had cancer? I sure was. Cancer had already impacted my family; my dog had passed away from it and my mom was a cancer survivor. I was excited but nervous.

I remember arriving on site being super excited and we all had dinner under a blue tent. During the dinner, my parents and I were pulled aside and informed we were going to receive a “special” case. I was excited because I thought we were getting a secret mission. As it turns out, we were assigned a kid one year older than me named "Alec." Alec had been diagnosed with a second reoccurrence of cancer. He and his parents were attending Lighthouse for the second time. Alec’s condition meant he could not get into the water due to the tubes he had connected to him. Because of this, Alec, the doctor’s son, and I did special activities that accommodated his condition. While the parents got some alone time with other cancer parents and special speakers, the volunteers played with the kids. I thought it was important that we were giving the parents a quick break. We spent the rest of the week serving Alec and his family. We had a great time both pouring into them and being poured into ourselves spiritually. I was sad to leave but hopeful I’d get to see Alec again; however, I did not.

A few months later, my Dad pulled me aside and told me that Alec had passed away. I was very sad because I thought he was doing better. I told my parents I wanted to go to the funeral. So my Mom, Dad, and I went to Missouri to attend his funeral. I remember feeling really sad for his parents. Since then his parents and I have kept in touch. We even met back up in Missouri last summer and went zip-lining together. While I miss Alec, I am thankful for the impact he had on me and my family. My hope is that his story will inspire others to serve at Lighthouse. Will I be able to count on seeing you there next year? I sure hope so!

MEET HAMILTON JANSEN: Hamilton is 15 years old and a sophomore at King’s Ridge Christian School. He loves to read, play computer games, scuba diving, and he is a professional actor. He loves to help people and serve at places like Lighthouse Family Retreat.

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