Dr. David Malkin’s Story
At Camp, it's just Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave has been a dedicated Ooch 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 Ooch and for sharing your story, Dr. Dave.
Being a patient to just being a kid
Camp Ooch is extremely important for these kids going through a cancer diagnosis or even once they’ve completed therapy. During their therapy they’ve often spend many hours and days and nights at the hospital receiving treatment or 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 also 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 maybe with crutches and ultimately maybe on their own legs.
We see kids who are psychologically have 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 in the clinic at the hospital, he’s always very quiet, he’s very polite and a man of very few words and up here at Camp I was just blown away by the way that he acts. He’s just 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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