Summer camp helps kids with cancer let loose

Isaac Lally
Isaac Lally
Stephanie Lally
Stephanie Lally
Marty Lally
Marty Lally

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The heat and humidity of July is upon us, and for many kids that means lazy summer days away from school. That is the case for Louisville's Isaac Lally.  As he plays on his family's monkey bars on hazy afternoon, you wouldn't be able to tell the struggle he and his family have gone through just to get to that point.

At just 7 years old, he's already been through a lot. In July of 2007, he kept getting dizzy and throwing up.  Doctors recommended a brain scan - which revealed the unthinkable.

"He had Medulloblastoma which is a brain tumor," said Isaac's mom Stephanie Lally. "He went through a seven hour surgery at Kosair and then he went through radiation and chemotherapy."

That's because he also had two spots on his spinal cord. The treatments worked and by March 2008 he was done and things were going well. A doctor's visit in August of that year changed all of that.

"The hardest point of the whole journey is when they thought he relapsed," his dad, Marty Lally said.

His family had few options to choose from and the odds were grim.

"The treatment would have been very invasive on him," said Marty. "They only gave him a 30% chance of surviving."

But going on an instinct and their faith, they chose to wait for one more test. It revealed that little Isaac was in fact cancer free and the lump was just scar tissue.

Now cancer free for three years, the treatment Isaac's young body left him with some side effects, which aren't all known.

"He has a little bit of some right side deficit so he's continuing working on that and going through physical therapy. Radiation can cause some learning disabilities so we're trying to work with that," Stephanie Lally said.

Through it all, Isaac made a lot of friends, thanks to the Indian Summer Camp for Kids with Cancer on the grounds of Camp Cedarmore.

When he was asked what he was looking forward to this year, Isaac replied: "scuba diving and swimming in cold water."

The week-long camp often sees UofL and UK athletes stopping by.

"It just kind of gives him that opportunity to be like other kids," Stephanie Lally said.

This will be Isaac's third year at the camp, making him a role model - which his parents say he's already been to them.

"We've really learned a lot about perseverance and strength from a 7-year-old boy," Marty Lally said.

As his family shows off his camp scrapbook, there are blank pages in the back that are not only for memories at camp this summer and in the future, but also for a child with a lot of life yet to live.

The camp starts Sunday, July 11 and is funded solely through donations. It hosts about 100 kids and next year will be its 30th year.

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