The Camp Casey staff was honored to meet with former camper, Cali, this past month, and she was kind enough to guest blog for us this week. Thank you, Cali!
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer when I was 12-years old. The summer after I was diagnosed, my family was invited to participate in Camp Casey’s Cowboy Camp Out. While at the Camp Out, I was able to spend a really fun weekend with my family and meet other kids who were going through similar situations. The weekend was eye-opening for me because, before going, I didn’t know anyone else my age or younger who had cancer. It was saddening to hear the stories of what the other kids had gone through, but it was also comforting to know I wasn’t alone. During the day, we did different activities and got to spend time with our family and new friends. At the end of the day we all sat around the bonfire and really got to know each other. Both parents and kids talked and bonded over similar experiences, and supported one another as we shared our stories. Camp Casey created a supportive space for families who might have otherwise felt alone.
Now that five years have passed, I am CANCER FREE! I’m getting ready to go to college next fall, and I can’t wait. I still keep up with the friends I made through Camp Casey and regularly check up on them via social media. As I prepare for college, I hope to get more involved with Camp Casey and start a club at my future university. I hope to help give other children the same opportunities I had five years ago. Camp Casey allowed me to have a weekend with my family to decompress and reconnect, and enabled me to make life-long friendships. Camp Casey is something I wish every child experiencing cancer could be a part of. It is an amazing opportunity and is run by amazing people. Thank you, Camp Casey!