LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Do you remember your favorite part of summer camp as a kid? Well, Catherine Ray Tucker does, all thanks to the power of medicine and a camp for kids meant to inspire and give the experience of a lifetime.
Camp KEMO is a summer camp for kids with cancer and blood disorders through Prisma Health Children’s Hospital. Seven-year-old Catherine went for the second time this year. I got to catch up with her at her home after spending time with her at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the Year event. She was this year’s Girl of the Year. She’s quite simply an inspiration, almost three years in remission after a battle with leukemia.
As Catherine holds a craft she made at Camp KEMO – two flowers held by pipe cleaner stems – she grins and shows me where she wrote her name. It’s one of the many things she loved about going to camp this year. Our conversations go a little something like this:
Me: What was your favorite part of the whole thing?
Me: Yeah, we love to swim! What else?
Catherine: Art! And the trampoline… Yeah! I play with my friends…
Me: How many friends did you have there?
At this point, Catherine smiles and proudly holds up all ten fingers.
Her Mom, Sara-Mills Tucker, says this year her daughter blossomed even more than when she went to camp the first year.
"Her counselors even said how much more outgoing she was this year,” Tucker said. “And it's just great to send her off for a week knowing she's having the best time of her life."
Camp KEMO was one of the nation’s first pediatric oncology camps and is funded entirely by donations. There is no cost to the families and each child can invite one sibling.