My name is Ashlynne. I am a strong healthy 11 year old but I am also a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Wilms Tumour when I was only 4 ½ years old. I had a major surgery to remove my left kidney and then 5 months of chemo.
We found Camp Trillium 2 years after I finished chemo. By this time my hair had grown back and I was healthy. My school and baton friends didn’t really understand when I talked about my cancer. I had physical and emotional scars that they did not have. My family was still dealing with the trauma of childhood cancer. It’s a journey that does not end with the end of treatment.
Camp Trillium is a place I can go with other kids who share the same experiences as me. I found a place where having cancer is normal. I can talk about chemo and surgeries with kids who get it. It’s fun to meet other kids who had the same cancer as me. My brothers found a place where they weren’t the only ones who have a sister with cancer. Dressing up in costumes and being silly is fun and normal even for teenagers. My parents found a place that can put smiles on our faces and a place where they can go and be with other parents who share similar experiences.
Our family calls the Island our little piece of Heaven. We are reminded that having a child with cancer is normal and it is ok to be sad at times.
When I am asked what my favourite part of camp is, I struggle to answer with just one thing. I love special friends, camp friends, family camp, all the activities including arts and crafts and sailing. My parents say there is nothing quite like the sunsets on the Island. Camp is my favourite thing about camp.
Whether its overnight camp or family camp, we leave the Island feeling refreshed. Camp Trillium has given my family a special gift – it has made us whole again.