MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - More than 50 families from across state lines have made their way to the Grand Strand this summer, all of whom have one thing in common: cancer.
Jason’s House is not a physical house, but a structure within the Surfside United Methodist Church, built on love and hope.
The purpose of Jason’s House is to give families whose lives are stressed as they care for a child with life-threatening cancer a much-needed vacation.
“My daughter has a brain tumor, it’s spread throughout her brain and some on her lumbar and so she’s been in treatment for two-and-a-half years,” said Christi Galloway.
Galloway and her family are one of nearly 2,000 families chosen to receive a free, seven day vacation to Myrtle Beach after experiencing a child being diagnosed with cancer and amid hospital visits.
This was all inspired by a little boy whose mother and father lost him after a battle with cancer.
“Jason was a little boy who died of a brain tumor and he never got to live here in Myrtle Beach," explained Elaine Paige, Jason’s House director. “When his parents moved here after his death, they said ‘Oh my, wouldn’t Jason have loved to live here with all the fun things to do. We need to help other cancer children out.’ So they came up with this plan 35 years ago."'
In 1984, Jason’s House was founded at Surfside Methodist Church. Now, businesses across the Grand Strand donate their time and services to these families who may have never been on a vacation before due to medical bills and needs.
“It’s tough to just take a break even to come here when it’s all paid for. It’s tough, but to just take time away to not have to go to the doctor to just have a quiet week is what we’re looking forward to,” Galloway said.
The organization teams up with social workers and doctors at 14 hospitals in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. Jason’s House brings 60 families here every summer from June to August.
“What we see is some of the children are between one-and-a-half to 19 years old so some of them have had cancer their entire life so this is their first vacation. For others, it’s their last because they’re terminal,” Paige said.
Galloway said being a mother of three, her entire family has been affected in one way or another through the cancer treatment and she hopes this trip will allow them to forget about cancer, even if it’s just for a few days.
“Sometimes all I feel like I’m doing is driving from appointment to appointment to appointment and just making sure we’re getting fed and surviving so just to take time to not have to worry is huge,” Galloway said.
When choosing families, Paige said they request those who have taken a major financial hit due to medical bills and other costs who otherwise couldn’t afford a vacation.
For more information on Jason’s House, click here.