This past week has been a whirlwind of laughter, smiles, and most importantly friendship. For the past six years, I've been volunteering one week of my summer to the amazing kids and staff at Sister Pat's Camp for Cancer Kids.
Being a part of the magic that transpires from Sister Pat's is without a doubt one of the most incredibly life-altering experiences I will ever have the pleasure of being a part of. Seeing first hand the life and death obstacles that all of these courageous children face on a daily basis--while still being the happiest child in the room--is unbelievably moving...to put it lightly. One of the most gratifying and indescribably beautiful moments is seeing the transformation of your campers throughout the years. One year they're six years old coming to camp for the first time after a round of chemo, battling with their illness and the loss of their hair; then the next year they come back with a full head of gorgeous new locks, a smile on their face, and a hunger to conquer camp all over again.
It is completely moving as an adult to see the bravery and strength that these children emanate. These kids at Sister Pat's prove that sickness is not what defines you, but it is how you move forward and use your struggle as motivation that truly matters. Seeing all that accompanies the sadness of a terminal illness makes you appreciate the simpler things that life has to offer. These remarkably resilient kids truly puts one's life and values into perspective; they offer clarity as to what is actually important and what is simply just another passable bump in the road.
Sister Pat's Camp is not only a community, but we are a family. We root for each others success. We shed tears for each others losses. And we love each other whole-heartedly, as if we were connected through blood. Sister Pat's is my home away from home. We share a bond that is this very special camp; and that bond can never be severed.
The memories that are made at Sister Pat's are memories that can never be forgotten. Every year is a new and exciting adventure that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am truly honored that I get to come back each year and be a part of the magic that radiates all throughout the week. So thank you, Sister Pats, for everything that you stand for and for another week that I will forever cherish.