Ooch Campers Share their Stories
Provide some inspiration and share a Camp Oochigeas story with your supporters to show the impact camp has on kids living with cancer.
Camp is more than a place you go to in the summer. Camp is a place where you meet people who have gone through what you’ve gone through. You’re no longer different, you’re just the same. You can reach your goals that seem impossible elsewhere.
Through Camp Ooch, I am working on my Duke of Edinburgh’s award which is internationally recognized and will help me get into schools and the workplace. I may not know what career I should go into, but there are some things I do know: I want to travel, to have a family, to perform on stage some day. I want to inspire, lead, and teach people. I want to help make cancer history so no one has to go through what I have had to. I also want to complete my leader-in-training program at camp so I can come back as a volunteer.
For myself, Camp Oochigeas has been something that I look forward to every year. Camp Ooch has been there for me in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. I have met some of my best friends there and the best part is that we can relate to each other in ways that our friends and family back home just can’t. Ooch has provided me with some of the most amazing experiences and opportunities of my life. These leadership opportunities have given me so much confidence and I have learned so much about others and myself. It has shown me what I can do and that I can push my limits and myself. Camp Oochigeas is so important to me and every single camper, and volunteer, who attends every year. Without it, cancer would only have downsides and you would be really limited on who you could talk to who would truly understand your experience. I love Ooch!
My name is John and 2 years ago, when I was just 7, I was diagnosed with an astorcytoma brain tumour. Many Fridays I spent at Sick Kids I would go to the Ooch day camp on the 8th floor. We would do tons of fun stuff like making hats, painting and making a mask. Nora, Justin and Toby always made me laugh and feel better. My first year after starting chemo I went to the Ooch summer camp. It was so much fun!!! It was the first time away from home for a whole 2 weeks and I was a little nervous about missing home. I did the high ropes and felt so happy that I could do it. I loved the polar bear dips first thing in the morning. Now I am known as the Belly Buster since I did so many belly flops into the lake. I made so many friends too! It’s nice to have Ooch events to look forward to. In February, I am going to Ooch WAC which stands for Weekends at camp. We get to go to Muskoka for the weekend and do lots of fun things in the snow.Having cancer is really not much fun but I have do so many fun things thanks to Oochigeas!
One of our campers at Teomul was coming to camp for the very first time. His sibling had passed away earlier this year and he wasn't eager to come to Ooch. He didn't know what to expect, he definitely didn't like the water, and he had trepidations about everything. But it's hard to sustain that attitude for long at Ooch. By the end of the first night, he was already starting to come out of his shell. The next day was a day of firsts - he went into the deep end for the first time in his life. He got into a kayak (something he was terrified to do), and he made a bulls eye at archery. On the way back to the cabin at the end of the second day, I was walking this camper a little behind the rest of the group. We were walking in silence for a while, when all of a sudden he quietly said, "Andrew, I think I'm gonna ask my mom if I can come back next summer." Nothing more needed to be said. He just beamed me a smile and then ran to catch up with the rest of the kids from the cabin.