Friday, June 22, 2012

This week we were able to do something that Skyler has been looking forward to for many months.  He was able to go to Camp Hobe, a summer camp for cancer kiddos and their siblings.  I learned about Camp Hobe last year when some of his cancer buddies went, but we were still in the part of our journey where that wasn't even a possibility for us.  In fact I couldn't even wrap my head around how people could send their cancer kid to camp while still on treatment.  We are in such a different place now physical, mentally and emotionally that this was something I was looking forward to this year.  There is an option for them to stay at camp for an entire week but I chose to just do day camp which is two days.  Instead of driving home each night, a bunch of us cancer moms got a hotel to stay in.  Skyler was pretty nervous about going to camp while we were driving down there, but as soon as we got there and he got a cool shirt, hat, pin and backpack and a counselor took his hand to go play all of his fears left and he walked away with a huge smile on his face.  I had the option of staying with him and watching but he was having so much fun that I just left and went to a park with some of the other moms.  The second day he actually told me to please was so funny. They had fun activities and things to do with the kids the whole time. It was two days packed full of fun.  On the way to camp the second day I heard words that I never thought I would hear anyone say let alone my own son.  He said "Mom, I'm actually really glad I have cancer because I get to go to Camp Hobe!"

These are some fellow cancer moms and some of the most AMAZING women I have ever met.  

These three boys played together so well and are some of Skyler's favorite little cancer buddies!

Because most of these kids are still in treatment there are nurses from ICS that volunteer to be at camp.  This is Kathy, one of our favorite nurses in ICS

This is also another one of our favorite nurses, Amber.  She is so sweet!  It was so nice to see these familiar faces outside of the hospital and it was awesome for them to be able to see Skyler running around and playing like any other kid his age.

Don't worry that isn't lipstick on his lips, just a Popsicle.  This is on a bunk bed inside his group's cabin

In the back in the blue hat is one of Skyler's oncologists, Dr. Wright.  We love her and I'm so glad she was there to see Skyler having fun and talking.

I never thought I would ever let Skyler swim while on treatment and especially with a PICC line, but all of his other cancer buddies were (most have ports which they can swim with) so I let him get in.  I just wrapped his arm with saran wrap and put his sleeve back on and just told him to make sure that his arm didn't get in the water.  I decided before we left for camp that I was going to do whatever it took to make sure he had fun and felt like a "normal" kid while we were at camp.  That smile on his face made everything worth it!  He was so excited to be able to get in a swimming pool again.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  That girl in the picture with him is Brielle.  She just got done with her SECOND bone marrow transplant because she relapsed.  This was her very first time in a swimming pool too since she was diagnosed.  So this picture is very special to me.  Both of these kiddos have been at deaths door and back.  They are amazing little fighters!!

Skyler was so excited to be able to stay in a hotel again.  This is another thing I cant believe we did but it was SO MUCH FUN! 

This was Skyler's favorite thing about camp....the zip line!  He was looking forward to it the whole time and it just made his day getting all strapped in with with his helmet and harness.  Since he didn't want me to stay with him at camp I didn't get to see any of the activities they did, but on the last day I decided to go an hour before camp was over and watch him.  I hid behind a tree the whole time so he wouldn't see me.  I'm so glad I was able to see him do this.  I totally started bawling, good thing I had my sunglasses on.  I cant thank Camp Hobe  and all the volunteers enough for what they gave to my son.  They made him feel like a completely normal kid.  Its a place where we all know what each other has gone through and is going through.  They all know what PICC lines are and hearing aids are and no one gets any weird stares because they look a little different.  I will forever hold a very special place in my heart for Camp Hobe!

                       I love this picture...he looks so cute!!!!

This is Sky doing the zip line...

                                     Look at that smile!!

                                          Skyler's cabin.

The guy with the pink bandanna is another nurse at ICS named Mitch.  We love him, he is so good with the kids.

These are some of the BRAVEST, STRONGEST AND CUTEST kids ever!!!!

These fellow cancer moms are a huge support and blessing in my life.  I don't think I would be were I am today without them in my life helping me get through this cancer journey.  They all "get it."

                   Love this kid! Im so proud of you buddy :)

When it was time to head home we stopped at a little candy shop in town with a fellow cancer fighter Daphne.  Skyler loves her and they had a lot of fun picking out their candy. 

     I think I was just as excited to be in that store as they were. 


Holly said...

What a wonderful experience! So glad you had this!

Chelsie said...

Love this! So happy Sky got to go and not just feel like a normal kid, but BE one! And you got to be a normal mom! So happy for you guys!

Lacy Allred said...

I absolutely adore Skyler. I have never heard of Camp Hobe but I am so glad a place like that exists! I will spend my nursing career trying to do everything I can for these kiddos!!!

Chelsie said...

Honestly, I think my favorite part of the vid was when he finished. He just hopped off and rejoined his group like it was nothing. A totally normal thing to do. And that is EXACTLY the way it should be. I love it!