Hope & Joy By the Sea

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Health, Nonprofit

Little Pink Houses of Hope provides breast cancer patients, survivors and their families with a free weeklong vacation on Topsail Island.

If you visited Topsail at the beginning of May, you might have noticed a sea of pink running parallel to the sea of blue. A line of rosy-colored signs, tents and beach chairs spread across the sand at the water’s edge. This pop of pink signified the island’s warm welcome to the dozens of breast cancer patients, survivors and their families who came for a free, weeklong vacation with the nonprofit organization, Little Pink Houses of Hope (LPHH).

As one of 23 yearly beach retreat locations across the country, the Topsail Island communities came together to further the organization’s mission of supporting and connecting families as they enjoyed a much-needed respite from the challenges of their diagnosis and treatment.
Surf City residents and current retreat coordinators Russ and Natalie Lindsey became involved with LPHH several years ago when Russ happened upon one of the pink tents on the beach. After approaching the tent and speaking to a volunteer, he says he felt an immediate connection.

Little Pink Houses of Hope Topsail NC

“Natalie is a breast cancer survivor, so it’s easy for us to embrace Little Pink Houses of Hope’s mission by helping not just the women but the entire family with a complimentary break or vacation from doctor appointments and treatments,” Russ says.

As event coordinators, the couple now prepare and schedule the weeklong annual retreats, which occur during the first week of May.

The Lindseys work for several months to make sure the schedule of events flows well through the week, with free time built in as well for the families to enjoy. They also connect with area businesses, churches and restaurants to plan meals and activities for the families. Local volunteers, otherwise known as Team Pink, secure gifts and services for the families from the Topsail community.

Community members, including the mayor, enjoy coming out to meet the families and welcome the retreat each year.

LPHH Topsail NC

“The Town of Surf City and the surrounding areas have been wonderfully giving and caring for these families,” Russ says. “People always ask what they can do to help.”

The retreat begins on Sunday afternoon with 40 to 50 guests flying or driving in from various states.

An average of 12 houses on the island participate each year, all donated through local homeowners. A staff of volunteers from different states also travel to Topsail to help the families follow the schedule and assist with any needs. The week also includes one event per day, which ranges from things like paddleboarding, a boat ride, a beach day, ghost crab tours, crafts and other various activities.

Little Pink House of Hope Topsail Beach

The Lindseys agree the success of the retreat is largely due to the positive impact the local small businesses and community have on the participants and the work of Team Pink volunteers.

“The families leave feeling taken care of and blessed beyond belief,” Natalie says. “They understand what a giving and caring community this is, and they always talk of coming back to visit.”

Topsail Pier Little Pink Houses of Hope

Russ, adds, “The beach has a relaxing atmosphere, especially to families who do not live close to a beach. Seeing children who’ve never seen the beach is always a joy.”

Spread Hope & Joy
Little Pink Houses of Hope hopes to increase the number of donated properties on the island to serve more families each year. Anyone interested in getting involved through volunteering or donating can find out how at: littlepink.org/donors

Photography by Amy Shores, Seaside Topsail Photography

About the author

Annesophia Richards

Annesophia Richards

After spending a decade as an English teacher in Florida, I moved to Wilmington in 2014 to be closer to family. I now spend my time freelance writing, working as a school interventionist and raising two very energetic children. I love exploring all that makes North Carolina such a beautiful state and travelling as much as my family and time allow! My writing appears in various local area publications. In my free time I tend to read or go for a run, and I also love competing in creative writing contests. I’ve received awards for several pieces of flash fiction. My ability to tell a good tale is a talent that I use nightly when tucking my kids in with a bedtime story.