We were not solely of playing ‘hookie’ from school and work, but on a heart-felt mission to speak to 40 drivers and car owners about opening their hearts for a very special reason. We were requesting that they donate their time, money and driving skills by being a part of a ‘Lap-a-thon’ event to save Camp Good Times.
This amazing summer camp near Seattle for kids with cancer and their siblings (who are so often lost in the shadows of the one with cancer) is threatened to cease operating because the funding from the American Cancer Association has been redirected totally to research.
OK, I get it. It will indeed be nice when the dependable cure or prevention can be found as a result of this research so logically one can understand what prompted this decision. However the truth is that emotional support is just as, if not more valuable, than the medical strides forward. This camp gives the kids a chance to be seen as normal, and the siblings their change to be a part of it, too. And, it gives the parents a much needed break from the relentless demands of caring for a kid with cancer. As hard as the experience is for the child, I believe it is even worse for the caregivers.
Although Connor is cancer-free, he still experiences relentless challenges as a result of the chemo and radiation he received that now are evident in graft vs. host complications where his old immune system constantly fights the new one, causing lack of mobility in his skin and joints. He is a walking science experiment as they effort to find ways to intervene so he doesn’t continue to loose mobility that will eventually affect his internal organs. Although Connor is served by the research, he serves research, too, as they use him to test new drugs and procedures since there are few kids affected in the ways he has been. In my humble opinion, Connor (and his brother) and kids like him affected by cancer deserve at least a week at summer camp as a small acknowledgement for all they go through that serves all those that continue to follow. We need to care for hearts as well as bodies.
With incredible courage and relentless determination, his weary mom supports and encourages Connor in living a full life doing the things he loves regardless of the temptation to treat him as fragile because of his mere 50 pounds and lack of mobility. Connor loves soccer, he loves getting dirty at summer camp with his brother and his friends that he can relate to… and he LOVES NASCAR and racing. Although he may not be able to run as fast as others, this kid has a ‘need for speed!’
For more information about Camp Goodtimes and the Lap-A-Thon October 19th, visit:
It might seem that I am not the man I was before June 16th, 2011 (for me, the woman I was prior to being with Connor and his experience with cancer followed by my grandson’s experience with autism), but on a level close to the absolutes that are life and death I have remained the same. What is different is that I now know that every moment is a new beginning, every handshake a promise, I know that every quest implicates the other just as every word can become prayer. If life is not a celebration, why remember it. If life, mine or that of my fellow man, is not an offering to the other, then what are we doing on this earth.
Don’t be shy, feel free to donate to this cause, and if not this one find another that opens your heart, allows you to feel vulnerable as well as certain, and gives you the joy and thrill of receiving as much, if not more, than you give.