Larissa’s Story

Camper Larissa on her Ooch experience

Thank you Larissa for sharing your Ooch story.  Larissa is one of the over 1,600 kids affected by childhood cancer that Ooch provides with unique opportunities for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

Larissa and friend drawing on a bench overlooking the lake at Ooch Muskoka

A place I can just be myself

I’m Larissa. When I was 11, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a rare bone tumour. I did chemo for a few months then had an amputation to remove the tumour, got an artificial leg, and then another 6 months of treatment. Today, I don’t mind as much that I have a prosthetic leg and a lot of that is due to my experience at camp.

Camp Ooch was probably the first place where I didn’t feel so different anymore. I was surrounded by people just like me having a great time and laughing, and it made me feel comfortable enough to just be myself and not the “kid with cancer”.

 

So many firsts

Camp has been a second home to me, and now that I’ve graduated I miss it so much more but hope to carry all the lessons I’ve learnt and experiences I’ve had for the rest of my life. This was the first place where I didn’t feel shy about my prosthetic leg, the first place I wore shorts and didn’t care if people noticed my leg or not. It was also my first time rock climbing, kayaking, water skiing, doing archery, dog sledding and much more.

Camp holds a lot of firsts for me and I’ve made life-long friends along the way. As crazy as it sounds I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t wish not to have had cancer, or to still have my leg because that person wouldn’t be me anymore. I wouldn’t have gotten to go to camp and grow into the person I am today. And I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world!

More stories like this

Dr. David Malkin’s story

Dedicated Ooch champion, Dr. Malkin, discusses the impact of giving kids with cancer the chance to just be kids again.

Stephanie’s story

Camp Ooch gave Stephanie a place of belonging and provided an opportunity for her to connect with other teens that were going through the exact same roller coaster ride that she was.

Share your story

If you would like to share your Ooch story with us, please contact:

Alicia Smith

Manager, Donor Relations