At the beginning of 2017, we went back and forth to the doctors office as our son wasn't feeling well. We took Malleck to the emergency room to get blood work as some of his symptoms became very concerning. By 8 pm on February 11th, Malleck was diagnosed with cancer. The next night we were on a midnight flight to SickKids Hospital and our lives changed forever.
“No parent should have to hear the words your child has cancer, but we did on February 11th, 2017.”
Life became all about cancer – from scheduling surgeries, to understanding treatments and navigating what is going to happen over the next 3 ½ years of your child’s life. Watching your child lay in a hospital bed and deteriorate is unimaginably painful.
After the first few months, we were lucky enough to come home for a week. Malleck was beyond ecstatic to be home, see his friends and enjoy a little bit of familiarity.
“It was at home that we started to hear about this camp that was right here in our community and supporting families like ours… Camp Quality.”
When you are introduced to Camp Quality, you hear that there is absolutely nothing like ‘Camp Week’. At the time, we thought ‘Camp Week’ meant swimming, arts and crafts and campfires. What it really meant was acceptance, understanding and new friends for Malleck. The three things that would help him through his cancer journey. The first time Malleck went to camp we weren’t sure what to expect but we knew he needed to be there to bring some fun back into his life.
When he got home, he was so excited about everything… he made new friends and to see him smile meant everything. He learned new skills and was able to participate in all of the activities.
“ I think we heard about every hour of every day. He was ready to go back to camp as soon as he came home and was planning for next summer. More importantly, the volunteers who oversee the programs left such an impression and Malleck now plans to be a volunteer when he is old enough.”
Malleck was lucky enough to be able to enjoy two years of in-person Camp Quality programs and then the pandemic hit. Camp Quality was no longer just in our community, it was in our home. Both Brooklyn, our daughter, and Malleck attended virtual programming. They did a week of camp and dance class virtually. You can only imagine how fun that was. The one-year anniversary of Malleck being declared cancer- free happened the same night as one of the dance classes. We were having a family celebration but Malleck insisted that he had to log into the dance class with his friends so that he could share his good news. Camp Quality has become part of our family. The volunteers that make the programs happen are incredible. They dedicate their time year-round to plan for Camp Week, and truly make it a week to remember. We can never say thank you enough.
Proud Camper Mom of Malleck and Brooklyn