Grubsy Gives Back!
Over the last seven years I have been touched by hundreds of campers and families at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times.
What is CAMP? If you didn't know Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times has provided cost free camp programs for children with cancer and their families. It is our philosophy that love, care, attention, and above all else, friendship transforms lives and leads to healthy outcomes. Camp provides families with the unique opportunity to pause, smile, connect with others who are facing the same challenges, and renew a sense of hope. At the same time, children develop critical social/emotional skills that are often underdeveloped in patients and siblings who miss out on peer to peer interactions during years of treatment in their formative years.
How does CAMP help? As a Child Life Specialist, I hear from a lot of families, "What now?" "What do we do now that we are done with treatment... this was our life." "It would be nice if we could talk with others who know what we are going through." It makes my heart SO happy to be able to say "THERE IS, IT'S CAMP!" For so many families, their lives have been taken over by doctors appointments, dressing changes, and courses of treatment. They can tell you all about their child's premeds and what day they will need blood, but they might have a hard time recalling the last time they spoke with someone about something "normal." Because you see, the term normal goes out the window when you hear the word cancer. You have to put a lot of normal experiences (preschool, play dates, school dances) on hold. Your new normal consists of terms that are too long to spell, and planning your life around trips cycles of chemo. This is true for all members of the family. In the hospital I support parents in explaining a new diagnosis to the patient and sibling. I encourage the sibling's involvement because I know first hand the benefits of treating the WHOLE family.
That's what I love about CAMP. There are a lot of camps and organizations that are diagnosis specific, or sibling specific. But CAMP is special. CAMP is a place where the whole family is able to play, feel, and heal. Normal experiences are reintroduced in a way that is safe and comforting. The medical team onsite offers families comfort and reassurance that if something happens someone is readily available to respond. And the fact that this camp experience is cost free... is invaluable. Many of our families have been faced with medical expenses, hotel and lodging, hospital parking, babysitters... the expenses feel never-ending. CAMP is a cost-free program. With donations and support from people like you and me, we are able to give this amazing gift. A gift of hope, of opportunity, of connection.
Candid CAMP Moments. Offering children fighting cancer the chance to take a break from hospitals and find the opportunity to just be “ordinary kids”. My “kids” are the most amazing individuals in the world, in fact they give me hope for the future. You see, at CAMP you are surrounded by individuals who strive to support one another. This culture starts early on, in fact one of my favorite memories is of a camper in one of the youngest cabins. I had been supporting the fishing activity, when a camper asked me, “Grubs, why do you kiss all the fish we catch?” “Well,” I replied, “that’s easy. Because I want to find a PRINCE!” Her stare was amazing, it was torn between disbelief, amusement, and concern. She then added, “Grubs, that’s a FROG!” We all broke out in laughter, and after a few minutes she asked if I would work my way over to the pond when her cabin is fishing later in the day. I agreed.
Later that afternoon, giggles were audible as I approached the dock. I looked around, and asked where this particular camper was. Responding to my cue, she came rushing out from behind the shed yelling, “I’m your prince! Just don’t kiss me!” She was dressed in a prince costume from the costume shed, and had a tiara and magic wand for me. She was beaming with joy the rest of the activity, because she was able to make one of my dreams come true.
Camp builds amazing individuals.
How can I help? Please show your support and make a secure online donation by clicking the red Donate Now button to the right of the page. If you can't make a donation, please consider sharing my link on your social medial and within your community. You can also join my team and Walk for Kids on Sunday, April 3rd!
Thank you so much! We hope to see you at the Walk for Kids!
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