Why We Walk: Meet The Watson Family
At Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, we know that healing happens together. By participating in the Walk for Kids, you are helping to create a community, for families like The Watson Family, where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage, and joy.
The Watson Family first visited camp in spring of 2019, when 7 year-old Alanna Watson was on the verge of completing treatment for medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer. During their Camp session, Alanna had the chance to have fun with children her own age after the isolation she’d experienced in the hospital. That first Family Camp session also introduced Stephen and Emilee to a community of support with other parents who understood the challenges of a pediatric cancer journey. From the get-go, Camp filled a special place in their hearts.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in person spring Family Camp had been cancelled, quarantine began, and young Alanna shut down completely as if she had cancer all over again. She even stopped eating at one point, which required them to reinstate the g-tube feedings Alanna had needed during treatment. Alanna’s wellbeing took a turn for the better, however, once she began participating in Camp at Home. The Watsons enjoyed the activities that were posted online, and shortly thereafter, Alanna’s scans came back clear. She was even invited to participate in summer Camp at Home because she was almost 9 years-old. The Watson family continues to grow as 10-year-old Alanna, 1-year-old baby Lucy (short for Lucelia) and their new puppy, Topsie (short for Triceratopsie), keep Emilee and Steve on their toes.
In reflecting on the challenging year, Stephen states, "Everyone is looking for the silver linings right now, but Camp is more than a silver lining – it’s a ray of sunshine. Camp at Home gave us an opportunity to forget we were stuck. It gave us a chance to not be isolated, and for Alanna to let go and just enjoy herself."
While Covid has restricted their social activities, they share that “it’s been a true blessing to be able to connect with our friends at Camp Ronald McDonald through Camp at Home. Between the antics of Pun, camp games, fun arts and crafts such as cupcake decorating and support group meetings for the grownups, it’s a wonderful way to distance ourselves, mentally and emotionally at least, from the pressures of everyday life, and build our community of support.”
The Watsons are proud to be able to support Camp through the Walk for Kids event and hope that, through the efforts and generosity of the larger community, Camp will be able to support families like ours for many years to come. We look forward to being up the mountain with the Watsons and all of our campers soon. Thank you for walking with us in support of the Watson Family and the entire Camp community!
About Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times
Since 1982, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® has helped thousands of children and their family members by bringing the comfort, care, and support needed to reclaim life beyond childhood cancer. Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® offers a variety of camp program opportunities for cancer patients, their siblings and parents all year long! Find out more about the program at www.rmhcsc.org/camp.