Camper's Story: Olivia
Tour for Kids Impact: Wes & Shelley
Camper's Story: Michael
Tour for Kids Impact: Karen's Story
The Macnamara Family: Our daughter Olivia was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma when she was 3 1/2 years old. She is now an active and healthy 11 year old.
How has camp affected our life?
The most special thing about camp for us as parents is how it embraces the family. Olivia suffered physically during her treatment, but her siblings suffered as well. At diagnosis Olivia was 3 1/2, her siblings were 4 1/2 and 8 and their lives were turned upside down in an instant. During treatment we tried to keep things as normal as possible for them but Camp Trillium was one of the first places where they felt just as special as Olivia. There are no words to express my thanks for how much all of my children feel loved at camp. As parents it is also so important to have a safe place to bond with other families at all stages of treatment. As we are now on the other side it’s nice to feel like we can offer hope to families new to treatment. Camp Trillium is a second home to us. We just love it and all the staff and volunteers.
What aspects of Camp do you wish more people know about?
It’s hard to express how awesome Camp Trillium is without experiencing it. There is something for everyone. You can be active or crafty, get involved in group activities or just enjoy the peace and quiet. So special for the kids with cancer, but healing for the entire family.
Why did you send your kid to camp?
I left work during treatment so that I could focus on Olivia. Honestly, we tried camp initially because we wanted the kids to have a get away, but could not afford a vacation without this. After that first weekend family camp we were all hooked! The special friends, the bonding, the activities…we are always so looking forward to any opportunity we have to come back.
What’s the best/worst thing about camp?
We love it all. For Olivia and the kids I think it’s all the activities offered. They love the canoeing and sailing and the group activities. They’ve all made friends at camp that they keep in touch with throughout the year and look forward to meeting up with when they return. All 3 children hope to be involved as staff or volunteers when they age out. It is in our blood and we just can’t get enough! For us there is no worst thing…except when we have to leave!
What’s your reason for returning to Tour for Kids?
We were introduced to Tour for Kids by a friend. Each year the tour affects us differently. It is almost impossible to put the emotional journey you experience over the weekend into words. Each year we hear from campers and parents about the positive impact camp has had on their family. Unlike other charities we know that 100% of receipted donations we’ve raised goes to the cause. We’ve seen the impact that this is having by visiting the camps and met some great people along the way.
Michael Khan: 16 years old, camper for 7 years. Diagnosed with Medulloblastoma at 7 years
How did you hear about camp?
I heard of Camp Quality from the parents of a friend who also had the same type of cancer I did. Word of mouth. They were surprised that we didn’t know about Camp Quality, as they had attended for a year or two before us and thought we knew about it.
What’s your favourite activity at camp?
My favourite activity is the Mr. Lube dinner – all different types of BBQ meat! I especially like hanging out with Ryan and Patrick – my companions – as well as horseback riding.
How do you feel when you attend camp?
Camp makes me feel relaxed and happy.
What do you wish more people knew about camp?
Camp is a nice, friendly environment where kids who had cancer can go to make new friends and above all…RELAX and enjoy life.
How are your camp friends different from your school/neighbourhood friends?
It is easier for me to make friends at camp. I find the people at camp are easier to talk with. At school you have to compete to join teams or activities, at camp everyone has fun and can join in all the activities at camp. The atmosphere at camp is happy, friendly, helpful and kind, so everyone can laugh and have fun. People at camp are supportive and encouraging, including me!
Karen Campbell: 10 year Tour for Kids volunteer
Why I’m involved with Tour for Kids
I will never stop playing my part in the quest for life beyond cancer for childhood cancer survivors. I am a parent and a passionate volunteer. Camp Trillium was there for us when we needed it the most. I will be forever grateful and I feel every family deserves the opportunity to participate in their many programs. I have been with Tour for Kids for more than ten years and I have now ventured out to volunteer at other CTCAC events. I have gotten my family involved too! My son Trevor has been a counselor, a rider and a guest speaker. My brother currently sits on the board of CTC and we have recently started another fundraising venue. Together we need to continue to support the families so they can benefit from the camps, the supports, the research and the community that they so desperately need after a childhood cancer diagnosis. My future interests lie in supporting the adult survivors who face long term physical and mental challenges. Tour for Kids is an event where volunteers, sponsors, riders and our donors come together with the beautiful common goal of improving the quality of life for kids with cancer and their families. I am so proud to be a part of this mission.