Earlier this year I wrote about how my sister and I were celebrating her 25th anniversary of being cancer-free. Besides being an awesome sister and fabulous maid of honor, Nora is also a remarkable survivor. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at her 6 month checkup and then spent the next 3 1/2 years in and out of hospitals undergoing chemotherapy treatments. These treatments were effective in the short run, but she relapsed and needed a bone marrow transplant. In the midst of all this, I was born, and when I was two years old they found out that I was a match and could serve as Nora’s bone marrow donor. Thankfully, that bone marrow transplant was effective and now we are celebrating a quarter century of having a healthy sister.
Today, Nora heads to Camp Fantastic in Front Royal to give back and connect with kids who are currently living with cancer. This camp is unique in that it is almost entirely run by volunteers. This includes a large number of professional medical staff as well as a full team of camp counselors and staff, many of whom are cancer survivors. The kids are seen by a doctor three times a day and the ratio of adult volunteers to campers is probably at least 1 to 2. Nora’s car is packed with craft supplies and costumes, she has practiced her camp songs, and I can just feel her excitement and anxiety. The excitement and anxiety that comes from giving of your entire self for a whole week to kids who really need this. The kids not only get a fun week at camp, which is an awesome opportunity for any child, but they get a safe and welcoming space to be themselves around both peers and adults who truly understand what they are going through. For some, this will truly be an experience of a lifetime.
As a nonprofit camp run primarily by volunteers, Camp Fantastic can really use your donations. I was lucky enough to win $2,500 earlier this year, which I put towards the camp. I hope that you will give at least $10 on Nora’s fundraising page to show your support and help make camp possible for more kids that need it.
To find a camp for kids with cancer in your area click here.
*** NOTE: I understand that everyone needs to prioritize their giving in ways that are most important to them. But if childhood cancer is a cause that moves you, I can strongly recommend this organization as one that is making a real difference in the lives of kids battling cancer.