PANAMA CITY BEACH- Families living through childhood cancer were treated to a day on the water they will never forget. Tony Johnson, owner of Mr. Surf's Surf Shop on Panama City Beach, provided a surf camp with everything they needed to enjoy an afternoon of fun in the sun.
The group got a quick lesson on surfing and stand up paddle boarding before they hit the water. The event was part of the Lighthouse Family Retreat's first-ever retreat focused on single-parent families who have a child with cancer. LFR helps restore families by allowing them to leave the reality of treatments and doctors appointments behind and enjoy a vacation at the beach.
Thursday's surf camp was a blast for the group. "Its been incredible, Tony just went out of his way to do this for our kids and for our families. They are doing things they have never done before. Some of our families have never even seen the beach," said Julie Fesefeldt, of Lighthouse Family Retreat. "It's been wonderful. This is something I never thought I would be able to do," said Diondre Bankhead, 19, from Indianapolis. His sister had cancer and is now doing well.
"When they are out on the waves and on the water and listening to the music, they are all smiles. They just forget about all their problems and they just enjoy. It's just awesome!" said Johnson.
The nine families and a small army of LFR staff and volunteers are staying at Rosemary Beach this holiday weekend.