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Diagnosed October 3, 2010
Germinoma (malignant germ cell tumors)
There is no other place on earth that can match the happiness and joy of going to camp. Going to One Step Camp made a big change in my life. Everyone was very welcoming. I will never regret going to One Step Camp. Seeing so many friendly faces can really put a smile on your face. There is no other place on earth that can match the happiness and joy of going to camp. I felt like I would never like One Step Camp because i thought it would be really hard to make friends and get to know people. But everybody was kind and inclusive. It's almost like you have a second family at camp, waiting for you. I was chosen to speak at the Donor dinner about my camp experience and at first I was very nervous to go up in front of everybody at camp. But it was a great experience to go up in front of everybody and share my feelings about camp instead of keeping everything inside. My friends said that I did a really good job. I felt very happy - I almost wanted to cry. My mom was so suprised to hear I spoke in front of the whole camp because she knows I'm shy. I was thinking in my head, "Why did they choose me to speak?" But everything happens for a reason, and this was my chance to speak up.
Date of Diagnosis: October 10, 1996
Diagnosis: Ewing's Sarcoma
Different. This is how I would best describe myself before I went to camp. No matter how many things about me seemed normal, the differences were what stuck out in my mind. After my first week at camp, confidence was one of the most important things I found. I learned how to be happy with who I was. I stopped caring about how short I was, how many scars I had, and which activities I couldn't do. The most important thing I learned as a camper, though, is that One Step is a never-ending source of love and support. I built relationships as a camper that are stronger than most others. Today, as a counselor, I know that confidence and love are still the two most important things that camp means to me. I have confidence in myself and in the example that I set for my campers. I am confident that I am providing them with the same experiences that changed my life as a camper. The love and support are a constant. I continue to build lasting relationships and know that my camp family is one that I can always count on in any situation. Different. This is how I would best describe myself today. I am different, and I could not be more proud of it.
Non Hodgkins Lymphoma
Dat of Diagnosis October 28, 2009
I come to camp because everybody is just like me and I like being with people that I have a common experience with. I like meeting new people and making new friends. I like supporting others and being supported. Camp is special to me because it gives me the opportunity to share my story and listen to others. We have fun and people understand if you're tired or don't feel well. Camp is important to me because I want to be an oncology nurse and talking with kids at camp helps me think about how I can best help people like myself in the future. I feel happy and relaxed at camp with my camp friends. My friends at home don't have the same level of understanding that my friends at camp do. Camp is one of my favorite places to be.
Date of Diagnosis 12/16/2004
I come to camp because it’s a place where I fit in. It’s a place where we all have something in common that we can all relate to. When I’m at camp I have the opportunity to do all kinds of things that I don’t have the opportunity to do outside of camp. I always have adventures with my friends at camp. At camp I feel like I belong. It’s more of a family setting in that we don’t judge each other and we are always there for one another. The counselors are role models for me. I’ve been taught to respect people and I’m encouraged to do my best and pursue what makes me happy. I feel like I can reach out to my camp family and talk to them without being rejected. I also come to camp because missing out on camp makes me feel like a part of me is missing. Camp is the biggest influence in my life. Through the opportunities I have been afforded at camp, and through bonds I have formed with my camp family, I have become the person I am today.
Danny was the life of the party at One Step At A Time Camp in the late 1990s. Danny’s smile, compassion and love of life inspired everyone. Danny loved camp and it showed in this picture that was taken immediately completion of the lake swim. Camp offered him the opportunity to have fun and forget about being sick. His favorite word to describe camp was “awesome.” Fellow campers said Danny was the next Ted Nugent. He loved to entertain, he loved to live life to its fullest and he showed great compassion to all around him. Danny’s yearswere short, though. He passed on December 28, 2000 at the age of 15 after battling acute lymphocyte leukemia (ALL) for more than five years. Danny was loved by all and will be remembered for his love of life and One Step campers.
From Don (Danny's Dad)
Where to begin? I spent 13 years as a camper at One Step at a Time and am more excited than ever to continue going to camp as an adult. Camp is a wonderful place. A place that I don't think I'll ever be able to succinctly put into words, but I can try. The beauty of camp is the small, yet ever-loving community of volunteers and campers that can put home life aside for a few weeks and pick up with one another where things left off many months ago. So much passion and dedication flows from people involved in almost all aspects of camp - from the campers to most importantly the administration and volunteers. The hard work and love for all things camp make One Step at a Time Camp a fun and welcoming place to be. It was at camp, in my very first year, where I met my best friend and since then I have made many, many more great friends. I love camp. Because of One Step, it makes the horrendous and traumatic experience of enduring cancer so much more rewarding and bearable. We share many heart-breaking stories, but we also share a mutual respect and love for each other at One Step at a Time.
Diagnosed September, 1996
Diagnosis: Osteosarcoma in right leg above the knee
One Step at a Time camp for survivors of cancer is a magical experience. I don't mean that it is just a fun and exciting place for kids who have gone through the worst to just be kids. I mean it in the truest sense of the word. When I am there, I believe that having cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. I honestly don't know how one could ever utter that statement if it were not for magic; but it's something you will hear from campers and counselors like me year after year. Camp puts everything into perspective for us. We realize that because of our illness and the experiences that it forced us to go through, we know how to love and smile and be thankful for what life has to offer even when it strips you of your health and sometimes (in my case) a limb. Because of cancer I was able to go to college on a full scholarship for wheelchair basketball. It allowed me to travel the world. Cancer taught me how to love deeply and purely, and most importantly cancer taught me how to believe in magic. The last 15 years of my life has been fundamentally shaped by One Step at a Time and I am forever in debt to the miracles that it has let me see.
Date of Diagnosis - 2002
I love camp because I get to meet people who have cancer just like me and it doesn't feel weird to be different. It's not weird to have cancer at camp. I feel happy at camp because I get to hang out with my cool friends and I don't have to listen to my mom. When I'm not at camp I miss all the activities - especially swimming, I just did the lake swim and people were cheering for me! My 1st year at camp I was only signed up for one week. Camp called home and asked if I could stay for 2 because I was having so much fun. I go to stay an extra week and I had extra fun!