My name is Kristina Dontino, and on November 14, 2013, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I was 8 years old and in the 2nd grade. That year, I spent many days in the clinic and many weekends in the hospital getting the chemotherapy that would make me better, but I couldn't go to school or play with my friends, and I was tired all of the time. On May 14th of this year, I finally FINISHED my treatment! NO MORE CHEMO! HOORAY! It's amazing how much better I feel! I still go to the clinic once a month to get my blood checked, but I no longer have a port and I feel great!
This summer, my sister Mia and I got to return to Camp CARE (Cancer Ain't Really the End) in Lake Lure, N.C. Camp CARE is a week long normal camp experience for children with cancer and their siblings in the Charlotte area. Camp CARE gives kids like me, and their brother or sister, the opportunity to forget about cancer for one week and have fun just being a kid.
ONCE AGAIN, WE HAD AN AWESOME TIME!
We made cool crafts, went tubing, boating, swimming, saw some old friends and even made some new ones. The best part was being with kids who had experienced the same kinds of things we had. Being a sibling of a child with cancer is tough. All of the attention gets placed on the child who is sick, and they can sometimes feel left out. My sister Mia met some girls at camp last year who also had sisters who got sick. She became very close with them, kept in touch with them on Instagram all year and was so excited to see them at camp again this summer! She says they bonded because once they shared their experiences with one another, they realized how alike they were. It was the same for me. Being with other kids who had lost their hair, had a port, couldn't go to school or have sleepovers....there was a special connection there that I don't with have anyone else. They just get it.
Camp CARE is free for all campers and relies solely on volunteers and the generosity of others, which is vital to families who are struggling with medical bills. The Camp CARE Annual 5K Walk/Run is their biggest fundraiser event. This year my family and I will be out of town for the 5K, but we still want to raise as much money as we can for this special cause. Camp expenses are more than $500 per child, so won't you please consider supporting us?
If you'd like more information on Camp CARE please go to www.campcare.org
Thank you in advance for helping to support me and many other little cancer warriors enjoy a week of summer fun at Camp CARE, Charlotte, NC