CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Moore family's annual vacation goes well beyond rest and relaxation.
Joe, Jenn, and their two children spend vacation time helping others.
“It’s an amazing week. It really is. It is relationships,” Jenn Moore said. "It starts with giving hope to these families."
The Moore family volunteers for Lighthouse, a non-profit which invites families living with childhood cancer to a week-long beach getaway.
They, along with dozens of other volunteers, provide not only a safety net but also a physical and mental escape.
“We do their laundry and make their beds. We serve them and play with them,” daughter Macie said.
“It is one week away from treatment and hospital and that is what the volunteers are there to do,” father Joe Moore added.
How dedicated are the volunteers like the Moores? They pay their own way to work.
The Moore family knows the benefits of Lighthouse first hand.
On January 17, 2003, Macie was diagnosed with leukemia. She was three years old.
“You know it is devastating to get that news,” Joe recalled.
“You start to question everything. Why or what did we do?” Jenn said.
A few months into their own cancer journey, the Moores were invited to spend a week away.
“For us, it gave us an opportunity to be with families who completely understood what you’re going through,” Jenn said.
The support and healing they found at Lighthouse changed their lives.
“They get to have fun and see the other families going through it,” Macie said. “It helped a lot.”
After two and half years of treatment, Macie beat her cancer. With their daughter in remission, the Moores promised to dedicate their lives to Lighthouse.
“Knowing what these families are going through how could we not,” Jenn said. “You’re turning around and helping these people because you know they’re struggling. They’re broken."
This year Joe and Jenn are hosting a one-day retreat on May 1 in Chesterfield. Children living with cancer, their parents, and siblings are invited for fun and fellowship free of charge.
“We’re going to be here for them for as long as they can be,” Joe said. “They need meals? We can provide meals for them. They need yardwork? We can do yardwork for them.”
The Moores from Mosley are on a mission.
“Don’t let us waste our pain," Jenn said. "Let’s use it for something good."
“People gave back to me so I want to give back to the other people,” Macie added.
Paying it forward as a beacon for families enduring so much. While finding motivation in the child they call Mighty Macie.
“Yes many people have been inspired by her,” Jenn said. “Every day she inspires us.”
The Richmond Lighthouse retreat is on May 1. If you are a family on your own childhood cancer journey the Moore family is welcoming you with open arms.
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