Like many in the community, I have spent the last several weeks shuttered in my house while following all the recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Committee. This current situation has brought me a lot of sleepless nights because it might be the first time in 41 years that there may be no in-person summer camping programs for Camp Good Days. The children in our community who have cancer and sickle cell anemia look forward all year to camp, so it will be very upsetting for so many if we are not able to have our programs. Cancer is cruel, it forces children to grow up too fast and it robs them of the special time in their lives called childhood. Camp Good Days gives them the chance to regain that lost childhood with other children who are going through similar circumstances. For right now, we are going to press on, and if there is any chance that we can safely have camp in person this summer, we are going to do it, and we plan to be prepared.
We will plan on having fewer beds in each cabin and fewer, spread out tables in the dining hall so that it will be easier to social distance. We will be able to accomplish this by having less campers allowed per program, but in turn, have more, shorter programs to accommodate everyone. We will also require staff, volunteers and campers to wear masks, and we have already made arrangements to have hand sanitizer all throughout camp. We will be working with our Medical Director along with other medical professionals to plan what is best for our campers, volunteers and staff.
During this period, I have had more time than I would like to watch television, and I can’t help but think that the cruelest part of all this is watching people lose their loved ones to the Coronavirus while they are not able to be there with them. They are not able to say their last goodbyes, hold them, or be there to comfort them. When I first started Camp Good Days, I found a survey through Mayo Clinic that showed what terminal cancer patients were most afraid of. I thought that the act of dying would be the top answer, but I was surprised to find that the first fear on the list was dying in excruciating pain, and right after that was dying alone. There are too many victims of the Coronavirus who are dying alone right now in hospitals without their loved ones. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. It is tough to love someone and not be there for them, just as it is tough for the loved one to be alone. I hope that when all of this is said and done, there will be more things done than said by our politicians and those in charge of our nation’s well-being, so that we, as a nation, can do better if something like this happens again in the future. Just like cancer, this virus has been cruel to humanity and has stolen lives that should not have been lost.
Please know that we, here at Camp Good Days, are here to help. Cancer hasn’t stopped during this pandemic and neither have we.