Memories made at camp for kids with cancer - News, Weather & Sports

Memories made at camp for kids with cancer

James Larmour James Larmour
Jon Dubins Jon Dubins
Patrick McSweeney Patrick McSweeney

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Did you squeeze the most out of the small moments you got today? Sometimes it takes something jarring to make us realize that what we do and how we do it counts. A Kentucky camp is a good reminder of that. Everyone there realizes just how valuable those moments are.

Forget lazy summer days. Time flies by when you're at summer camp. When that camp goes on a field trip to the Belle of Louisville, it's a million moments of memories.

Third year camper James Larmour reminds us though that these memories count -- maybe double -- because the kids are warriors. They have been loaded down with something much more heavy than most of us can ever imagine.

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James said he learned about Indian Summer Camp during a checkup with his doctor. "She said like there's this camp. It's called Indian Summer Camp. It's for the cancer survivors and kids that are still having cancer."

Diagnosed at age two with cancer, the now 12-year-old from Nicholasville can relate to just about every child at Indian Summer Camp.

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"I can kind of imagine what it was like and what they're going through," he said.

Jon Dubins has worn a lot of hats around Indian Summer Camp. He currently serves as President of the Kids Cancer Alliance.

For the week of camp though, he is a counselor. Dubins said, "It allows them to be with other kids where they don't feel any different like they might at school."

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Tuesday he was also the facilitator of a surprise for some of the kids: time on the Belle's bridge with the captain.

"Any kind of memories we can make," Dubins said of the reason for the surprise. "All of these children are real special."

He's known some of them for years, like Patrick McSweeney, who started camp the year after he was diagnosed. "I was diagnosed on July 22 in 2004 and I was five years old. So I've been doing this for a decade now," McSweeney said.

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Dubins said, "He's relapsed four times now. For every couple steps up the mountain they make, they take a few steps back but they keep chugging along the way and they keep fighting."

None of that matters for just this one day on this one week

McSweeney said, "It's a week of forgetting about the hospital and just being yourself with other people who know exactly what that's like."

It's a time when the excitement on the Belle of Louisville makes these moments perfect.

The staff members do their best to make those moments count because the reality is some of the children at camp will not be back next year. Counselors are all aware that the parents have given up precious time so the children can make memories.

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