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Bluebird has a long history of providing hope for adults with cancer. What started as a single Camp Bluebird retreat in Alabama in 1985, has evolved into many retreat programs across the country. While attending a Bluebird retreat in North Carolina, Bill Timm, a Spring Lake resident battling cancer, decided to bring Camp Bluebird to West Michigan.

Bluebird provided Bill with hope, and that hope led to a dream – a dream of sharing the inspiration and support he felt at the Camp Bluebird experience with West Michigan residents diagnosed with cancer.

Although Bill Timm died in 1994, his dream lived on through his wife, Robin, and their friend and pastor, Rev. Peter Theune. Together they united four organizations – A local Church, North Ottawa Community Hospital, Hospice of North Ottawa Community and the American Cancer Society of Ottawa County – and the first Camp Bluebird of West Michigan was held on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1996.

Today, Bluebird hosts five weekend retreats including offerings for newcomers, couples (a survivor and a caregiver) and a reunion gathering.   We also hold monthly support groups in Spring Lake/Grand Haven and Holland including a Spanish speaking group.   Our name has changed to Bluebird Cancer Retreats of West Michigan but we remain committed to Bill Timm’s dream – a dynamic, healing journey toward emotional and spiritual well-being for persons who experience cancer.

Bluebird’s History

One man's dream.

The Bluebird Staff

Committed to lead with compassion & excellence.

Renee Denslow

Renee Denslow

Executive Director

Renee joined Bluebird in January 2009 and carries a special meaning in her heart for the mission and those we serve.  “My dad had 4 separate cancer experiences spanning over 40 years of his life.  He battled and rallied each time primarily because of his incredible attitude and strong will to live” shares Renee.  “The Bluebird mission inspires me every day to try and put others first and to help people find joy in life, even in the most challenging times”.  Renee lives in Grand Haven with her husband Erik, and has three children, Maya, Anna & Eli.

Carrie Brondyke, MSW

Support Group Director

Carrie has been involved with Bluebird since 2010 as a social worker on our retreats.  We are now honored to have her join the team as our monthly support group director!  Carrie shares, “I am passionate about advocating for people and creating rapport with each individual.  I hope to continue assisting our bluebird family in improving their quality of life and provide a safe, caring space for you to be heard.”  Carrie is not only caring and compassionate, she brings a fun loving spirit and an uplifting perspective to share with our bluebird family!


Tia Dumbrigue

Retreat Director

Tia joined Bluebird in 2016 as a participant, and has been a retreat volunteer ever since.  In her words “The doctors saved my life, Bluebird saved my soul.   Tia fought a battle with cancer that most can’t even imagine.  After years of treatments and various diagnosis, her doctors told her to get her affairs in order and she entered hospice.  But against all odds, Tia’s cancer went away.  She is now sharing her story of strength and hope as our Retreat Director at Bluebird Cancer Retreats.  


Board of Directors

Serving with a heart for the cause.

Mike Pokrywka

President – Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Mike comes to Bluebird with a personal connection to cancer after losing his father-inlaw, a very close friend, to pancreatic cancer in 2003.  He understands first hand the crippling effect this disease has on friends and loved ones, and how important support and access to resources are in the healing process.  Mike will bring a wealth of knowledge to our Bluebird team with his experience in operations and corporate finance.  He is married to his wife Stacy and lives in Spring Lake, MI.

Lorie Jager

Vice President – Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Lorie has partnered with Bluebird since 2015 through her work as a professor and advisor at Grand Valley State University.  She also has a unique cancer experience walking this journey with her two sons and her late husband.  She shares “Bluebird fills an important need for people going through one of the hardest things imaginable.  My family knows first hand how hard it is to navigate the cancer world, and my goal is to make things easier for families going through cancer treatment, and being part of Bluebird allows me to work toward that goal”.   Lorie was previosly a board member for The Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T.), a group of volunteer families serving families with a child battling cancer.  Her depth of knowledge and experience is a blessing to our Bluebird family!


Ben Keller

Treasurer- Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Ben comes to Bluebird with a personal connection to cancer.   His family’s world was shaken when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ben remembers how difficult those months were watching his mom suffer through something he could not control. After many years in remission, some anxiety and fear still linger during annual check-ups, but his family is thankful every day for her incredible recovery. Ben wants to give back to Bluebird and help us continue our mission to enhance the lives of those with cancer. Ben works as an accountant, and he lives in downtown Muskegon with his bulldog Rosie. 

Molly Fazakerley

Secretary – Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Molly comes to Bluebird with a background in personal banking. She has a special place in her heart for Bluebird, as she has family members who were affected by cancer. Molly wants to bring hope and value to those in need in our community. She lives in Norton Shores with her husband and two young boys.

Darcie Beebe

Transplant Coordinator, Spectrum Health

Darcie comes to Bluebird with over 30 years experience in oncology nursing along with a very personal passion for serving those with cancer.  She and her husband raised their 4 children in Allendale Michigan.  Their life was turned upside down just weeks after she became a nurse, as her 3 year old son Nathan was diagnosed with leukemia.   Nathan is now 28 years old and cancer free and thriving!  We are now honored to have Darcie’s experience and passion serving others to provide hope on this journey!

Jess Garrison

Realtor, Coldwell Banker

Jess Garrison is a third generation resident of Spring Lake, MI. He graduated from Spring Lake High School in 2005, where he played football, basketball and ran track. After high school, Jess attended Michigan State University. An active member of the community, Jess serves on the Board of Directors for Reach For Recovery, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. He is a past president and current member of the Spring Lake Rotary Club. He currently servers as a board member of the North Bank Community Fofoundation, and is a board member of the Planning Commission for the Village of Spring Lake. He and his wife (Skylar Garrison) just wrapped up the capital campaign for the beautiful new Tanglefoot Park in the Village of Spring Lake where they servered as Co Chairs. Jess is father to his adorable daughter (Rosemary Garrison) and soon to be son in the summer of 2022 (Wesner Garrison). His love for the West Michigan area has led him to be very involved in the local community. Blue Bird Cancer Retreats is a wonderful organization doing great work for those affected by cancer. When asked to serve on this board, it was a resounding yes! The work they do is phenomenal, and I’m honored to assist in continuing to spread their mission.

Lindsey Sabol, BSN, RN, ONC

Manager Specilty Care Services – Medical Oncology, University of Michigan Health-West

Lindsey is currently the manager over Medical Oncology at University of Michigan Health West.  After graduating from the University of Michigan she began my career in Pittsburgh and quickly discovered her passion was in oncology.  She shares “my favorite part of working with oncology patients is the ability to make a difference in their lives, no matter what your role is.  Sometimes, a simple gesture or taking a couple of extra minutes, make a huge difference in their day”.  We are excited for what Lindsey will bring to the bluebird team and those we serve!

Nikki Vanderleest

Inpatient Rehab Manager – Mary Free Bed/Mercy Health

Nikki’s professional life in healthcare has given her a greater insight to the devastation an injury or illness brings. Nikki has been the manager of the inpatient rehab facility at Mercy Health Muskegon since 2008. In September of 2016, Nikk’s family experienced a nightmare of a day. Her otherwise healthy and athletic husband received a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. This experience gave Nikki a unique understanding of the array of emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis. The impact this had on their family makes the opportunity to be part of Bluebird Cancer Retreats even more rewarding. They are now celebrating 3 years since  her husband Rob’s diagnosis and remission! Nikki, her Husband Rob, and their 3 children reside in North Muskegon.

Jennifer West, LMSW, OSW-C

Oncology Social Worker, Trinity Health Lacks Cancer Center

Jen has been a friend to Bluebird Cancer Retreats since 2013 when she began serving as staff on our retreats.  With over 20 years oncology social work experience, Jen knows first hand how important emotional support can be in helping patients recover clinically.  Jen brings a wisdom and compassion to Bluebird that takes our programs to the next level.  Her experience and knowledge will help us as we grow and learn in our ever changing world!  



Advisory Board Members

Serving with a heart for the cause.

Rick Arnold

Owner Broadview Product Development

Patty Keller

Retired teacher, Spring Lake Public Schools

Gloria LeMaire

Retired Executive Secretary

A forever friend of Bluebird

Rev Peter Theune, Minister & Bluebird Founder

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