Candlelighters camp brings together families of childhood cancer
The camp is an opportunity for children affected by cancer to spend time with family and friends outside of the hospital
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - This weekend families will spend time up on Mount Lemmon enjoying the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona’s 38th annual family camp.
This camp is an opportunity for children affected by cancer to spend time with family and friends outside of the hospital and doctors’ office.
“It’s nice that Candlelighters puts this on for families like ours. It gives us a chance to not be at hospitals and going to appointments every day throughout the week. It’s a chance to let loose and have fun,” said Alex Frear, a parent.
This is the Frears family’s third time attending the camp. For them, it is a much-needed break from the stress that comes with having a child with a brain tumor.
Since 1985, this camp has continued to be a space for families with a child in or post-treatment to connect.
“There is so many appointments and so many hospital visits it’s nice to communicate with other families about what works and what doesn’t,” said Frear.
The connection and support is something many families in attendance said makes them grateful. Kelly Frey, a first time camp attendee, got emotional as she expressed what this opportunity means to her family.
“It’s good,” she said.
“It’s nice to be around people who are going through similar experiences and know that Jacob is not the only one going through it,” said Bill Frey.
While many families in attendance this year have kids currently battling cancer, this camp is also open to families that have already lost a child.
“It’s our first time and we are excited because we are going to meet families that went through the same thing that we did. Losing a child is hard,” said Maria Rodriguez.
“She passed away when I was only a year old, and it is very tough to lose someone that you could have had for the rest of your life,” said Fernando Rodriguez.
And while the weekend is about support, it is also a time for these families to enjoy some summer fun and forget about what they are battling, if only for a few days.
“It looks like we can do a bunch of stuff like shoot bows and arrows, color, rock climbing. The bee guns, we can do all the fun stuff out here,” said Frear.
The director said they are expecting around 100 campers to attend.
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