Dr. David Malkin’s Story
At Camp, it's just Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave has been a dedicated camp champion for over 30 years, finding innovative ways make it possible for kids to experience the social cure for cancer. Thank you for all you do for us and for sharing your story, Dr. Dave.
Being a patient to just being a kid
Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium is extremely important for these kids going through a cancer diagnosis or even once they’ve completed therapy. During their therapy they’ve often spent many hours, days, and nights at the hospital receiving treatment, surgery, or chemotherapy and they’re sick many times during this period. Even if they’re able to do things at home and go to school, they’re still tied very much to the hospital. And so one of the big advantages of camp, and I think one of the most magical aspects of camp, is that it takes that hospitalization away from them.
There’s an amazing difference that we see with these kids when they come to camp. Within hours of getting off the bus and starting the activities, you see them just starting to open up and they make new friendships and they start to really put their cancer diagnosis and their cancer treatment aside for the time that they are here.
Discovery of new skills
One of the important aspects of living with and surviving a diagnosis of cancer is being able to have the strength to recover from whatever side effects or toxicities of the drugs that we give and of the surgery that we have. And it’s sometimes very hard for the medical community to do that in a consistent and every day way for the kids. So what I find that happens up here at camp is the kids develop new skills. They develop a sense of independence, and the ability to do things that they might have otherwise thought they couldn’t or perhaps that even people were protecting them a great deal at home because of their diagnosis.
We see a lot of changes coming home with them. There’s been kids over the years who’ve come up to camp either in a wheelchair or very limited mobility and whether it’s from all the water skiing and other activities that go along here. They realize that they actually are able to drop the wheelchair and start ambulating with maybecrutches, and ultimately maybe on their own legs.
We see kids who have psychological had difficulty dealing with their illness. And just being able to hang around with a lot of kids who are in a similar scenario, a similar situation, they realize that they actually have a lot more to give back and they do and they come back from camp a completely different kid.
There’s a number of my patients, one in particular, who’s very quiet in the clinic when I see him at the hospital. He’s always very quiet, very polite, and a man of very few words. But up here at camp, I was just blown away by the way he acts. He’s energetic, and he’s got a certain swagger about him. He just is non-stop talking, and I suspect when I see him next time in clinic, his talking will continue and the swagger will be there. That’s all camp.
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Wise Family Foundation’s Story
Since 2002, the Wise Family Foundation has been by our side. Their tremendous generosity and kindness have helped us make great strides in fulfilling our mission—to reach every child and family affected by childhood cancer in the province so they can experience the magic and friendship of camp.
Camper Oscar's family thanks us and shares how camp helped their family during their son's cancer journey.
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