|Photo of Panda by Paul Dudley Photography|
I don't know either Panda or Loop very closely, but I know them from the various times I've volunteered at camp or on Da Boata (by the way, my Camp name is Truffle). Both of them are warm, friendly, humorous, open, kind and likely to be dressed very crazily, as is normal for camp. I recall a brief but meaningful conversation I had with Panda one day last summer.
Panda had a recurrence of cancer, and she has been in treatment. Recently, she moved home on hospice care. My heart has been with her family, as we have walked the hospice path with our own daughter. I just received word that Panda passed away this morning.
Why am I telling you this? Because it made me realize anew that the impact of Camp Goodtimes goes beyond what I understood when our children attended in the summer of 2007. It is much more than a week of fun and craziness which helps children who have cancer (and their siblings) realize what cancer cannot take from them...it goes far beyond that. Camp creates an extended family of people who really and truly care about each camper and staff member, forever. Not just for fun, but in sickness and in health, in remission and in relapse, until death and afterward. I know this, because I have felt this love and caring directed toward our family when Katie died, and I have seen it come alongside other children and their families when they are dying. It's not just about the Goodtimes - though there are plenty of those. It's about caring for people who touch your life briefly, yet touch your heart for all time.
|Katie and friends at Camp Goodtimes, 2007|
It may be part of the reason why Katie asked us to scatter her ashes there.
|Katie at Camp Goodtimes, 2007|
And to Panda, Loop and family: I send love and prayers for comfort in your hearts.