Team Parker & Friends
Parker Brockway is a happy and energetic 12-year-old who enjoys going to school, hanging out with her family and friends, advocating and fund raising for cancer research and keeping physically active—her favorite activities include playing basketball, karate and horseback riding. Except that she needs a hand at times when walking, you would never guess that this young lady has undergone 23 surgeries and multiple rounds of chemotherapy as a result of a brain tumor diagnosed when she was just 2½ years old.
In the winter of 2006, Parker and her parents, Kathy Kelley and Billy Brockway, were enjoying the holidays and anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child. Without warning, their world turned upside down. Parker suddenly got sick and started complaining of excruciating headaches. Kathy and Billy rushed her to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where doctors told us that Parker had a slow-growing brain tumor known as a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma.
Within two days, Parker underwent her first surgery, led by Chief Emeritus of Neurosurgery J. Gordon McComb, MD, and she was back to ballet class just three months later. But by spring 2007, Parker’s tumor returned, years of treatment and dozens of surgeries ensued. In May 2011, Parker had her final surgery and after 12 months of chemotherapy she has remained cancer free.
With so many surgeries, Parker was left with physical deficits including not being able to walk in 2011. With the help of her physical therapist and a lot of hard work, she returned to school in Fall 2012. To help her move about the campus, she was assigned an aid who enabled her to participate in all the usual school activities. With either her aid or one of her parents always with her for support, the idea of sending Parker to a sleep away camp alone never entered her parents’ minds – not until one of her beloved nurses mentioned Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. Nurse Barbara Britt, who has been a volunteer camp nurse for more than 30 years explained not only the benefits of Parker being away and on her own to build independence and confidence, but the huge amount of fun and the amazing experience Parker would have at Camp.
So, in the summer of 2014, Kathy and Billy drove Parker to Idyllwild and left her at Camp for four long days. Camp’s Director promised to call Kathy the next day to let her know how Parker was doing. “Well” wasn’t the word to use, more like amazing! Parker’s only request to her mom was, “please let me take the bus home and do NOT pick me up!” For never being away from her parents other than the occasional sleep over with a friend, they were thrilled and proud of their girl. Two years later, Parker’s younger brother Billy was old enough to attend camp with her and soon her sister Lila will be on her way as well. Kathy says, “Having this camp where Parker and her siblings can be in a place where they are just like everyone else, outside doing what they love and surrounded by the most positive, energetic and inspiring counselors is a life changing experience and we are grateful to be involved in any way possible.”
Parker is raising money to help send kids to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a cost-free, medically supervised camp program for children with cancer and thier families.
Due to the devastating financial effects of cancer, Camp programs are offered FREE of charge to the families. While 10% of Camp’s operating budget is funded by McDonald’s Owner’s Operating Association of Southern California, Camp relies on community members, foundations and companies to fund the other 90%. Walk for Kids is Camp’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Your donation will make a difference and mean so much to Parker and her Camp friends!