America's Charities | October 20, 2022
In hospitals, at regional events, in homes and at Camp, families like Shariah’s find joy and hope, thanks to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
When Shariah was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with undifferentiated embryonic sarcoma of the liver – a rare and aggressive pediatric cancer. After surgery and many months of treatments including chemotherapy and radiation, Shariah and her mom learned about The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. They attended a Family Camp in 2018 just a few months after Shariah was diagnosed and were able to forget about their troubles.
“The family weekend was super exciting,” Shariah said. “My mom and I met families that we were able to talk to about our situation and get advice from. We had so much fun and for the first time since losing my hair from Chemo I felt ok. My mom told me she had the opportunity to go to a caregivers’ meeting where she was able to cry and talk about all she was going through. By the end of the weekend, we both felt like we could take on the world. We connected with some really special people that helped us get through.”
The next summer, Shariah had the opportunity to attend Camp by herself for a week. Surrounded by other campers facing similar challenges, she built lifelong friendships and learned more about herself and how to cope with what she was facing. And when COVID-19 put in-person Camp programs on hold, Shariah and her mom participated in virtual CampOut events and Parent & Caregiver Cabin Chats, connecting with other families on Zoom.
This past year, Shariah was grateful to return to Camp for in-person programming. It was her final year as a camper in Hole in the Wall’s traditional summer program for children with serious illnesses and their siblings, but she is excited to return next year to participate in Camp’s Young Adult Programs. And her mom also got to attend an in-person Parent & Caregiver Retreat this summer, which was a much-needed weekend away where she was able to relax while connecting with others who simply “get it.”
Shariah and her mom are one of thousands of families who experience “a different kind of healing” annually through Hole in the Wall’s year-round programs across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. In hospitals, at regional events, in homes, and at Camp, families find joy, hope, and a “hole” new family.
All of Hole in the Wall’s programs are offered completely free of charge, thanks to a generous community of caring donors who have made Founder Paul Newman’s dream their own. Whether through a one-time gift, or a recurring payroll deduction or a monthly gift, these kind friends help provide life-changing experiences to the children and families that Camp is so privileged to serve.
As Paul Newman said, “The need is great, and so are the opportunities to make a difference – one smile at a time.” We are so grateful for everyone who helps make the magic of Hole in the Wall possible.
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