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weekend RETREATS

Our retreats are designed with the whole family in mind. Our retreat schedule is a beautiful blend of unstructured “free time” for families to spend together and planned group activities that are just plain fun! Our weekend retreats are held at popular resort properties, and our roster includes between 70 and 90 families at each retreat.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything so inspirational as this. Every single person went above and beyond for all the guests. A Thumbs Up Retreat is a once in a lifetime experience and truly helps lift such a heavy weight.”
“This past weekend was the best weekend we’ve EVER had as a family – it even beat Disney! When we arrived at Great Wolf Lodge, we were greeted by 3 teenage boys that were so eager to help us with our luggage and guiding us to where we needed to be, that we were completely amazed. The way that this organization arranged EVERYTHING allowed me and the family to take our minds off of our stress, and I didn’t think that was possible.”


  • We serve families where a parent or child has cancer.

  • The family must have at least one child (K-12th grade) still living at home. If that parameter is met, the cancer patient can be any member of the immediate family.

  • Our retreats begin midday on a Saturday and conclude midday on Monday. You must be willing to arrange time off work on Monday and allow the children to be absent from school on Monday in order to attend the Thumbs Up Mission retreat.

  • Because retreats are completely free to our
    guest families, you are only eligible to attend one retreat. But you’re welcome to recommend the experience to others you meet on your cancer journey. 

  • All families are welcome to apply regardless of race, religious affiliation, financial status or demographic location.

  • Only immediate family members living in the home are eligible to attend.
    (No neighbors, friends, or other relatives.)


  • The family must have a cancer patient in the immediate family (parent, legal guardian, or child) and the cancer patient must have received treatment within the last 18 months.

  • The family must have at least one child between the ages of 5 and 18 living in the home.

  • The family cannot have attended a Thumbs Up Mission retreat before.

  • Medical Professionals may refer the family, or the family may apply directly

  • Click the 'Apply Now' button below to complete the application. Fill out all required info and SUBMIT!

  • A staff member will contact you 1-2 weeks after the referral has been submitted.


  • Our retreat schedule is a mix of planned group activities and plenty free time to spend together as a family.

  • Activities are planned for every member of the family, regardless of age!

  • All meals, lodging, and entertainment is provided free of charge by Thumbs Up Mission.

  • Our volunteers pay their own way to serve you in a variety of ways throughout the weekend, from assisting with your luggage to serving you at meals, to befriending your kids in the waterpark, to listening with compassion to your family’s cancer story. You’ll leave the weekend with new friends!


  • No alcohol or smoking is allowed during the retreat.

  • No firearms or weapons of any kind are allowed anywhere during the retreat.

  • No pets are allowed at the retreat.

  • Parents are responsible for the actions of all family members.

  • Parents must accompany all children to the water park or pool.

  • Retreat Families are not to solicit any gifts or services from staff, Family Hosts, businesses or the community during or after the retreat.

  • Families must provide transportation to and from the retreat.

  • A nurse or doctor will be available during the retreats to administer basic first aid and access situations to determine if more advance medical care is needed. Retreat Families are responsible to bring and administer their own medications and treatments.


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Amber Downs

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In six months of treatments and appointments, my husband never missed one. With that came financial sacrifices. It’s been hard not to do something special with our kids for over a year. We were beyond honored and blessed when we found out we’d be selected for this amazing trip. You guys put smiles on my kids faces this weekend that I haven’t seen in so long. My 9-year-old said, “This was the best trip of my life!” 
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