Local Camp Brings Normalcy to Childhood Cancer Patients

By  | 

WALKER COUNTY - Down a winding road in the Sam Houston National Forest, is a camp. But not just any camp.

"[It lets] kids with cancer just be themselves," said Vanessa, a camper.

Camp Quality. A camp designed for childhood cancer patients...

"Our whole intent is for the kids for a week to forget about their cancer, forget about their treatment," said Camp Director Anneliese Kulakofsky.

Cancer is scary, but at camp...they're not alone.

"If they can't participate in an activity under normal circumstances, we will find a way that they can participate. We have kids that can't walk, going down the zip line," Kulakofsky said.

"You get to see people that have the same experiences you've been through and know what you're going through," said Jaslynn, a camper.

"But when you get here...you don't talk about that. Like it's all about just having fun with the kids," said Tyler, a companion.

Tto watch two kids...maybe one that's in treatment, one that's in remission, and just to watch them, even without talking about cancer, just to watch them support each other and get each other through what they're going through," Kulakofsky said.

They have over one hundred volunteers for 70 kids. The idea is to pair each camper with an adult volunteer called a companion for the week to form a close bond.

"It's just special to me and I know it's special to her. We text and call all the time and we talk about stuff like that," said Vanessa, a Companion.

Being so staff-heavy, an abundance of volunteers is vital.

"The kids really want to come. So if I come, it means he gets to come," said Chester, a companion.

They come for the fun and keep coming back...for family.

"Once you're part of the Camp Quality family, you don't ever leave," Kulakofsky said.