Thank you so much for visiting my Crowdrise page & taking the time to hopefully donate & learn more about my experience with Camp Dream Street, a place that has truly changed my life.
This summer will be my 17th year at Dream Street, which is really unbelievable! When I was 10 years old, I tripped one day while playing on the playground. When I didn’t feel better, I continued to visit the doctor until they discovered a large tumor in my abdomen. My life, my family’s lives, immediately changed. I began aggressive chemotherapy treatment in hopes that the tumor would shrink, so that the doctors could operate. During that difficult time, I was in the hospital more days than out. I couldn’t go to school, couldn’t see my friends, and couldn’t really just be a kid.
Thankfully, after many painful months, my tumor shrunk & we were able to remove it along with one of my kidneys & a part of my liver. I continued with chemo for months after, until one day towards the end of my treatments, I was offered the opportunity to attend Camp Dream Street.
Amazingly, my parents allowed me to leave their sight for a week & I was SO excited. A little nervous… but excited. At Dream Street, I immediately made friends. I was bald at the time, still had tubes in my chest, & none of it mattered. I was accepted by my peers- other children, different like me, who understood what I had been through that year. We came to a place where we could have fun & try to forget about our illnesses and disabilities that previously held us back. We were encouraged to just be kids.
At Dream Street, I was able to play all day. Ride horses, rock climb, do arts & crafts, dance, swim, and eat as much candy & junk food as I wanted… it was a dream. That week at Dream Street gave me back a part of my childhood that had been taken from me that year.
Once I entered remission, I knew that my years as a camper at Dream Street were coming to an end, but I didn’t want to leave this amazing camp behind. I wanted to give back to the place that had given so much to me. I became a junior counselor, then a counselor. & I will continue to be a counselor as long as they will have me & as long as I am fun.
Now, I am a counselor for girls who were the same age as me when I started at camp. I love their looks of surprise when I tell them that I was a camper at Dream Street too when I was their age. They love to ask me questions about my time at camp, all the pranks we used to pull & some campers and I even shared the same doctors.
Dream Street brought joy & light to me during a time of so much pain & darkness. I have made life-long friends, amazing memories, & gained a second family at this camp. By donating, this same joy is what you are helping provide these kids. We may not be able to change their diagnoses, & some children may not make it, but during this week they get to experience fun & get to be a kid again, not just a patient.
On behalf of campers & counselors, and all the rest of the volunteers, we truly appreciate & value your support. Please know that it is making a difference & you are helping provide a life-changing experience to children who deserve it. Thank you!! xx