Childhood cancer is debilitating for everyone. When a young person suffers, the entire family suffers, emotionally, physically, and financially. Even a small relief to any part of that suffering can go a long way to helping in the fight against a terrible disease. The Grand Celebration Cruise Ship understands this and works closely with The Children Battling Cancer Foundation to provide relief to every aspect of the lives of whole families affected by childhood cancer. The mission of the Children Battling cancer foundation is to “bridge the gap between the community and families battling childhood cancer by raising awareness within the community while bringing practical help and lasting hope directly to the families of childhood cancer.”

To help achieve that mission, the Grand Celebration Cruise Ship launched the Hope on Water Campaign. Each month, Grand Celebration and its affiliates send a courageous child battling cancer, along with their family, on an all expense paid vacation cruise to Grand Bahama Island. Hope on Water offers families more than just a vacation. It is a chance for family bonding and quality time, emotional and physical release, and a chance to create positive and lasting memories at a time when hope might be a difficult concept.

How it works

Grand Celebration’s mission is to ensure the joys and memories of each Hope on Water Experience will help to offset the pain and burden the children and their families face every day.That mission started in 2010 when the family of a girl named Mackenzie, who was struggling with terminal cancer, booked their last family vacation. Her dad was using the upcoming trip as a way to get her to take her medicine and to give them all something to look forward to. That little girl lit up the ship and inspired the owners to continue reaching out to families like hers.

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To achieve that goal, Grand Celebration works closely with Children Battling Cancer and the individual families to customize each vacation. Making sure each individual’s needs are met is the top priority. The cruise staff, known industry-wide for treating every passenger with the utmost care and attention, work tirelessly to make each Hope on Water vacation the travel experience of a lifetime, and ensure that the balance of relaxation, fun, and release are perfect.

Families already benefiting

Many families have already enjoyed the program. Here are a couple examples of just how big a difference Hope on Water can make.

The Rowans, family of Catherine Rowan, age 10, who suffers from the pediatric cancer Optic Glioma wrote of their experience:

“Words cannot express how grateful my family is for the vacation you provided us with. From start to finish we were graciously treated with lots of personal attention. We were constantly amazed at how frequently your efforts exceeded any expectation we may have had. Certainly, we did not deserve to be treated so well. Several times during the trip my daughter said, “This is the best trip ever!” The trip provided our family so many wonderful memories and we will treasure our time there forever. Thank you.”

The family of Truman Hendrick, age 13, who suffers from pediatric bone cancer and is an amputee said of their trip:

“We want to express our sincere gratitude and thank you for the wonderful Hope on Water cruise. We all had such a wonderful time. Thank you for your continued efforts to help us and families like us. The ships staff could not have been nicer. They showed such kindness to our family and our son. We loved the special dinners, snorkeling and the pictures they blessed our family with. We are so grateful and they made traveling as an amputee as easy on Truman as it possibly could be.”

How you can help

The Grand Celebration Cruise Ship is overwhelmingly proud to play a significant role in making an uplifting impact in the community.

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Hope on Water is committed to the families of terminal pediatric cancer by providing immediate booking and sailing whenever medically approved. As Dawn George, Founder of Children Battling Cancer put it, “We realize this is a very real disease with very real consequences. We just want to offer a little hope along the way.”

If you know a family that is struggling with pediatric cancer, please visit the Children Battling Cancer website for more information about the Hope on Water program: http://www.childrenbattlingcancer.com/HopeOnWater.aspx