The Gift Of A Childhood

/The Gift Of A Childhood

The Gift Of A Childhood

It is not that “at Camp Fantastic, the checkups just happen to be bookended by canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes and a carnival,” but that, “at Camp Fantastic canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes, and carnivals just happen to be bookended by medline.”

Med Line... Maybe?Last week, while Camp Fantastic was in full swing, the much esteemed Washington Post published an article on our 30th Anniversary. As a 23 year camper and volunteer at Camp Fantastic I must say that the District’s newspaper of record got one thing wrong in this article. It is not that “at Camp Fantastic, the checkups just happen to be bookended by canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes and a carnival,” but that, “at Camp Fantastic canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes, and carnivals just happen to be bookended by medline.”

The extraordinary talent, people, and ingenuity that has gone into Camp’s medical apparatus exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to safely transform, for a single week, 100 childhood cancer patients into 100 campers.

 

Yes, there are scars and bald heads and even chemotherapeutic infusions and blood tests throughout the week of camp but, at that 4H center at least, these are kids first and patients second.

 

My story is neither particularly iconic at camp nor is it particularly harrowing but it remains the story I know best. I was diagnosed with Accute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 1989 and I’ve been cancer free for 20 years; today I have a lovely wife, two amazing kids, a job I love, and many amazing years to look forward to.

 

Special Love and Camp Fantastic gave me all of that in a very real sense but they did it in the most unlikely way possible: 23 years ago they gave a nine-year-old cancer patient back his childhood. Because of that – because medline just happens to bracket carnivals and canoe lessons and not the other way around – I will be forever in this organization’s debt.

2012-08-20T12:56:45+00:00Camp Fantastic|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Susan Goodlaxson August 31, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Ah, you made me cry. Richard talks about you alot. Are you still a counselor? TWO KIDS??!!!
    I’m still trying to break Richard of the caffeine addiction!

  2. Kay Andrew November 23, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Such children need to change surrounding atmosphere so that they can get some good air to breath and a bit of relief from their agony.

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