Thursday, May 22, 2014

Camp changed my life...

    Last June for the first time I got to volunteer at Camp Sunshine in Maine, a camp for families going through cancer. It's a place where they can finally let go of their worries and forget that the word cancer is even apart of their daily lives. It's a place where everyone understands and just gets it. Being a survivor I know how meeting anyone who just gets it, how much that means to me. The environment is amazing and inspiring. When I first got there I had no idea what to expect because I was still on my own chemotherapy treatment, I didn't even know if I could participate in all the activities or how I would feel. Luckily I knew my treatment was close to the end and that motivated me to just go no matter how horrible of chemo side effects I would have. At camp I stayed with my sister whose gone every year to this camp and her friends from back home. I also met other volunteers from all different towns. The families are from all over the country and I've made lifelong friendships from this one week. The one I really want to talk about is a young boy named Dylan who just passed away yesterday. I first met Dylan because I was a counselor for the 9-12 year olds at camp and he was one of my campers. I could tell Dylan was tired so sometimes I would sit with him an just chat while activities were going on. Dylan had a huge heart, I wish I could describe to you how kind he was it was just so unforgettable how young but how wise this young boy was. He cared so much about others. During one of the sessions it was time for me to take all my medications & chemo's and Dylan noticed and asked what they all were for so I told him how I'm a cancer patient as well. Instantly he started asking about my Leukemia and treatments and I was shocked at how mature this young boy was. I felt like I was connecting with an adult just casually exchanging our cancer stories. Dylan and I both went to pediatric cancer clinics so most of the kids treated are younger than us and I know talking to me helped Dylan because there wasn't anyone that mature or close in age for him to just talk to. Although I only knew Dylan for a week our chats weren't long but were very meaningful. Meeting him and all the families at Camp Sunshine changed my life. Another amazing opportunity that has shaped me forever. Please Keep Dylan's Family and my Camp Sunshine Family in your prayers. Dylan had battled cancer for more than half his life and was too young. The only thing that can make this situation better is knowing he is finally at peace and no longer suffering. The lives he has impacted through his kindness has inspired me even more to not only be nice to everyone I meet but to keep fighting for cancer awareness and most importantly a CURE.

RIP Dylan you will be forever missed by us all, we love you.