Family Vacation from Cancer
Jason was a 10-year-old boy who lost his life to a brain tumor. In his memory, members of his church, Surfside United Methodist, raise money to give away free trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now other families dealing with a cancer diagnosis have a chance to put their worries aside and enjoy each other.
(Locator: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
Hayden Miller, 9-year-old: "Sometimes my head will hurt and my stomach, or I'll be throwing up or something. I'm Hayden Miller and I have leukemia."
Lisa Miller, Hayden's Mother: "He will be in treatment for a total of three and a half years. And that basically consists of a chemo pill every night, a bigger regimen of chemo pills on weekends."
(Family plays on beach) "Now try. Better!"
Lisa Miller: "In 2004, we came to Myrtle Beach with Jason's House because our daughter Lindsay was diagnosed with Burkitt's leukemia. When you have a second child that comes in and they say 'Oh, cancer again.' It was devastating. It takes their childhood away. So when you get the opportunity to come together as a family and just have fun, then that's like giving him a little piece of that back."
Volunteer: "I'm so glad you're here."
Elaine Paige, Chairperson, Jason's House: "The goal of Jason's House is to give these families that are burdened with cancer a week of stress-free enjoyment, away from chemos and doctors and all the problems of life that they have, and come to Myrtle Beach and not have to worry about money."
The Rev. Scott Wachter, Former Senior Pastor, Surfside United Methodist Church: "Several years ago, there was a family in the church that had a son who died of cancer. The parents would talk about how much Jason would love the beach. And so a ministry spring up around that so that other children suffering with terminal illness, cancer, and the families could have an escape for a week."
Volunteer: "Pretty." "Thank you!"
Elaine Paige: "We try to make it as festive as we can and a happy occasion for them."
Volunteer: "Krispy Kreme, oh, we've got a new one down here!"
Elaine Paige: "One of my processors goes over all their paperwork, gives them all their money, their coupons."
Volunteer: "Bar-b-que House is right next door..."
Elaine Paige: "We have people who take them in. Jason's House Closet, we call it, and get them a Jason's House t-shirt, a hat and a stuffed animal of their choice."
Elaine Paige: "Do you want to ride in a Corvette? Yes. Well, Come on."
Little girl and volunteer: "That one." "This one? Yeah. We can do that!"
Little boy and volunteer: "Red car! Red Car? OK, take my hand."
Lee Ritchey, President: "We provide rides for the kids that attend Jason's House."
Lee Ritchey, President, Corvette Club: "My name is Lee Ritchey. I'm the president of Grand Strand Corvette Club. I'm also a member of Surfside United Methodist Church. Cancer is up close and personal to me because my wife had breast cancer and she passed away in February. So, I do this for the kids and I do this for her."
(Engine roars) Little girl: "Woah!"
The Rev. Scott Wachter: "So many of the families and children are really blessed to know that somebody loves them enough to do this for them and to provide for them, to care for them. So, it's really a good, total, whole body healing experience."
Michelle Coria: "This is the best day ever!!!"
Michelle Coria, 5-year-old: "I'm happy, right here, and to my family."
Nereyda Coria: "It was crawling, on my finger."
Nereyda Coria, Michelle's Mother: "I'm Nereyda Coria, and my daughter, she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been treated as a cancer patient ever since."
Michelle Coria: "It's cute. (laughs)."
Nereyda Coria: "She has been in the hospital 125 times. It's been many, many times."
Michelle Coria: "One, two, three, four."
Nereyda Coria: "And, of course, she's my baby. So it's been pretty tough on Dad, on me, on the family. I would just love to say thank you to the Jason's House. We're loving it. Every day we're loving it. If it wasn't for you, I don't know when I would ever have a vacation. So, it's been wonderful."
The children who attend Jason's House are referred by 14 hospitals in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. About 50 families come each June, July and August. Over more than 30 years, the value of the vacations they have provided totals more than 8 million dollars. To find out how to get involved or to donate, please visit www.surfsideumc.org and click on ministries, or call the church at 843-238-2734.