OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — One group in Ocean City is providing hope and comfort to families caring for children battling life-threatening illnesses.
The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation offers families the support they need during a difficult time — and a place to stay by the beach.
For some children, it’s their first time seeing the beach and an opportunity for them to renew their spirits.
“Just to let him be a kid again,” said Mason’s mom Melissa Johnson. “He wasn’t able to be a kid for 14 months, so to watch him swim, he had a Hickman line in, so he couldn’t get in any water.”
Three-year-old Mason has spent nearly half his life in and out of hospitals.
“[He has] stage 4 Neuroblastoma, but he finished his treatment in February, so he’s doing well now,” Johnson said. “But he had a long, hard road to get here.”
For 3-year-old Connor, this is his family’s first vacation since he was born.
“He has Shabdomyosarcoma. He was diagnosed at nine months,” said Connor’s mom Alana Bartsch. “This is his second relapse, so we have been through treatment three times.”
Believe In Tomorrow’s Pediatric Respite Program provides families an escape from reality — if only for a few days.
Just steps from the beach, it’s an opportunity for families to heal together.
“There’s nothing about going to the hospital and going through medical treatment that’s any way fun and what we should be doing in life,” said Brian Morrison, the CEO of Believe In Tomorrow. “This provides an alternative to that.”
A time for kids just to be kids and enjoy life beyond their illness.
“To experience childhood as it should be — childhood that’s filled with laughter,” added Morrison.
Since Believe In Tomorrow’s Ocean City facility opened, they’ve helped close to half a million family members.
The organization as six pediatric housing facilities on the east coast.