Life is tough for families of children who have cancer, especially on the siblings who may feel over looked.
“My favorite thing is being able to make new friends and learn about what happened in their families and what siblings had kind of cancer they had,” Abby, a camper at Camp Magical Moments, said.
Camp Magical Moments, a cancer camp for kids, hosted a camp for the siblings of children with cancer. The Harry Potter themed weekend was full of events such as a potions class, magic wands and even finding the sorcerers’ stone. Just like the books, each camper was sorted into a different house and there’s a competition to get the most house points. The camp brings together kid’s who have been through similar, life changing events.
“I get to make new friends and have a different family,” Harley, another camper, said. “And like, we have this conversation of how kind of we’re special too. ‘Cause when our siblings have cancer they had a lot of attention so that they’re giving us attention too. So that’s what I like, is that we matter too to them.”
Camp Magical Moments began in 2003 as an escape for kids with cancer. Owner Ann Walsh quickly realized there was another group in need of attention.
“So we realized after five years that the brothers and sisters, they really need a camp of their own,” Walsh said. “Because no one can understand as a sibling what they go through with having a brother or sister with cancer except for other children who know what it’s like.”
The kids get to spend about four days playing games, meeting friends and having fun. It’s the opportunity to come together as a group that keeps them all coming back.
“It’s pretty difficult, but you can push through it and it’s nice to push through it when you have other people that are going through similar things,” Allie, a camper at Camp Magical Moments, said. “So it’s nice to be able to come here especially when a lot of the attention might be on your brother or sister that has cancer, but coming here, you get a lot of help and you get through it.”
The kids can talk with a psychologist about what they go through having a brother or sister with cancer. At the end of each meal, campers can go around and say their “Magical Moment”, which is something they enjoyed or are thankful for from the day or weekend.
“I remember a couple years ago, one of the girls was brave enough to stand up and she said, my magical moment is that I’m finally noticed,” Walsh said. “That she felt like at home, you know, because so much attention was given to the brother or sister with cancer, that, we finally noticed her.”
The camp hosts it’s camp for kids with cancer in June. It also holds a mom’s weekend retreat in October. They also host a dad’s weekend. You can find information about the camp here.