As campers grow older they begin to understand more about themselves and start taking more responsibility for their actions, their decisions, and their health. One camper’s transition from childhood to young-adulthood was met with an unexpected diagnosis. Seventeen year-old Kyle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2010. After a year of chemotherapy and treatment, and the support of over 100 of his high school classmates who shaved their heads in order to raise awareness in his honor, Kyle arrived to Camp Joy in the summer of 2011 cancer free.

Through Camp Joy’s partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Kyle has been able to come to camp as a Leader-In-Training—an experience that allows him to motivate and inspire younger campers with similar medical conditions. Because of his strong leadership abilities Kyle has been assigned to be a one on one counselor to a 6-year-old camper, an experience he considers to be “exhausting but eye opening because he has been through so much pain but he is still so happy.”

Kyle’s instinct to welcome new responsibilities has allowed him to become more confident and independent over the last three years: “Camp helps me open up and be more confident in myself. I learned that I must be able to communicate for myself and speak up about health and communicate with doctors…Above all, camp gave me a voice.”

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