Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Camp CARE and Peter Pan

Camp CARE...a yearly summer camp for children (in the Charlotte area who are being treated for cancer) and a sibling. Camp CARE is run entirely on donations, and the camp is offered free to the patient and sibling. It is staffed by doctors, nurses, other volunteers, and former campers who have aged out can come back and be camp counselors.

BJ and Carly went to Camp CARE in the summers of 2013 and 2014 (Pictures below). Last year, BJ and Carly were not able to go due to BJ's leukemia relapse. Camp is a place where these kids can be themselves, where everyone knows the journey. Carly says these are "her people". It's true. If you haven't been a child or a sibling of a child with cancer, you just cannot relate to what they have been through. 

This year Carly went without her brother. 

It was a bittersweet send off yesterday. BJ should have been there with her. In fact, there are 5...FIVE siblings attending camp without their brother or sister this year. 

Does that spark even just a bit of outrage for you? It does for me. 

There are 200 kids at camp this year, making memories with forever friends, experiencing what should be normal, escaping the life of being the 'sick' one for 6 days. Tomorrow, they will witness, as they do each year, the memorial service of the friends that will never be with them again. 

BJ had friends that he maintained contact with through the years. One of his friends, John, came to visit BJ in the hospital in December. His mom told me yesterday that John said when they were leaving that day, BJ's last words to him was "Bye man, I'll see you at camp!".

This year the theme of camp is "Take me to Neverland"... Peter Pan, fairies, lost boys, and pirates. A land where the kids can escape, to a place where they never have to grow up, never have grown up problems...a place where some will stay, and truly never grow up. A place they'll be, so they can come visit you in the space between asleep and awake.

Camp CARE is so deserving of donations to help keep them able to provide this for the kids. If your heart leads you to help, go to campcare.org and click on Donate.

I'll always be waiting for you, BJ...in the space between asleep and awake.

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