It is World Cancer Day. And the word “cancer” just makes us cringe or cry or not want to say it. It strikes fear in us. Makes us realize our own mortality. Nobody wants it, but so many have it or have had it.
As we’ve journeyed down this path of being diagnosed with cancer, going through cancer treatment and living life beyond cancer (which still involves thinking about cancer wayyy more often than most would like), we’ve changed. We’ve grown up. We’ve dealt with harsh realities.
One of our realities is our kids also dealing with their mom having had cancer and their own emotions surrounding it. So while we are healing and hurting, so are they. The fear. The hard conversations that usually happen at night before bedtime. Because that is when they’ve stopped long enough to let the fear trickle in and have questions and concerns. And many times those questions and conversations bring tears to my eyes and break my heart. I hate that their hearts hurt, but this is life (hurt, happiness and all) and we are learning how to deal with it each and every day.
Then we heard about Camp Kesem. A camp for kids whose parents have, have had or passed away from cancer. This camp is free for these kids and it’s run by college students all over the country. How amazing is that? And my eldest has wanted to go since she heard of it. Last year we missed the cut off, but this year we signed her up. And she is beyond excited to spend a week meeting new friends all with a shared common experience. They all went through or are going through having a parent with cancer.
Folks, that’s just it. Shared common experiences. We don’t have to have experienced the same thing. But those of us who have been through a trauma or really difficult things, we find great joy and comfort in being together with those who have had similar experiences. My family is my family. But there is also my cancer family and my breast cancer sisters. We are all different – different ages, different life experiences, different types of cancer. But we all heard the words, “You have cancer” and have been through some form of treatment. So talking, texting and getting together makes us feel comfort because we can connect on a level that we each understand.
And I believe that is exactly what this camp will do for my kids and kids all over. Which is why we are going to do everything we can to support it. I’m not sure anything has pulled at my heartstrings as much as wanting to give these kids a week of fun where they continue to feel loved, in such a supportive environment. And seeing the joy and excitement on my daughter’s face as she talks about going, knowing that she’ll be surrounded by other kids who “just get it”. And not not feel alone…
Not feeling the greeting card vibe, but would love to donate directly? Rock on! Visit our fundraising page at: https://donate.kesem.org/fundraise?fcid=893626
Want to make a direct impact on a camp close to you that could use your donation? Click here and search camps across the country! http://campkesem.org/friends-camp-kesem
With all the feels, a few tears tears, and lots and lots of love and appreciation,