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. At age 14, Kyle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 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 at Camp Joy in the summer of 2011 cancer free.
Through Camp Joy’s partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Kyle has been able to also serve as a Leader-In-Training and full-time counselor—an experience that allows him to motivate and inspire younger campers with similar medical conditions. Because of his strong leadership abilities, Kyle was 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 five 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.”