When I think of someone that has been a huge inspiration to me I cannot help but think of about one hundred kids, all under the age of seventeen, who I spent a week with in the summer of 2012.
When I think of someone that has been a huge inspiration to me I cannot help but think of about one hundred kids, all under the age of seventeen, who I spent a week with in the summer of 2012. I never thought that I would have a whole different outlook on life after I left. The third week of August every year there is a camp for kids called Camp Fantastic, hosted by the Special Love Organization, for kids who have battled cancer. Through the camp I learned a lot about myself that I never knew.
December of 2010 I was diagnosed with undifferentiated Sarcoma of the chest wall, a rare type of cancer. Being a sophomore in high school, I was not only scared of my disease, but the way I would be looked at by my peers. I kept my health a secret, only telling my closest friends. I did not want to be looked at any differently than anyone else, so I even stopped talking to my friends about it. I had two surgeries that which resulted in me missing some school. My attitude went from optimistic too pessimistic in a matter of weeks. I was overwhelmed with stress. It took me some time to regain the confidence I once had.
My mom had brought the camp to my attention in 2011 but I was not comfortable with going. The following year I found out that because of my age, this would be the last year I could attend camp. I decided that it would be a good idea for me to go to camp, and now, my only regret is not going that first year.
There are no words to describe how nervous I was prior to my departure from home to camp, however, when I arrived all those nerves went away. Everyone was so comfortable around each other. What truly impressed me about the younger kids was that, even though some kid’s health resulted in them looking differently than another, they did not look at them as any different. There was no judgments because everyone, no matter how old, seemed to understand. The place was as comfortable as home. The counselors were also incredible. It takes a lot of patience to deal with kids who have special needs and they did that perfectly. It amazed me how much more positivity and hope was in the children who have dealt with one the most challenging issues in life in comparison to children who have never had to go through a disease like cancer.
I look to these children as a big inspiration because they showed me that life is too short to take for granted. You can be happy even when life throws you something so tragic. If there are kids out there who can be so positive and comfortable even though they do not look the same as other kids during the most judgmental years of life, there is no reason why I should ever feel negative and uncomfortable.
By Courtney, Camp Fantastic 2012 camper