November is a month dedicated to gratitude, family, and giving thanks. Obviously, I have plenty to be thankful for this year, including all of you. The Camp Good Days community has been so kind and thoughtful during this difficult time of recovery and healing. I, for one, am still getting used to not running around from meeting to meeting every day. However, I’m enjoying spending more time reflecting on this past year, my life, and all that Camp Good Days has done for so many families, including my own.
This month is Honoring Caregivers month. We want to take these next 30 days to celebrate and recognize the individuals and families that have been such tremendous support systems for patients of all kinds. No matter the type or stage of cancer, the devastation factor is the same on families. I have had personal experience in hearing this kind of earth-shattering news, with my own daughter, Teddi. I just remember the feeling of having no control. There was nothing I could really do to make her better, except be there for her. Becoming Teddi’s caregiver made me reevaluate my entire life; why was I here? What am I meant to do? What will I be remembered for? Hence, Camp Good Days was born.
My experience as a caregiver has given me the opportunity to relate to families all over the world. We are able to connect on an entirely new level, as not everyone has the ability to sit by the bedside of a loved one and watch them go through such pain during treatment. You are putting someone else’s life before your own, which not only is overwhelming at times, but is extremely humbling as well. Teddi taught me to live boldly, as life is fleeting.
Since Camp Good Days started in 1979, I was always under the impression that I would continue to support and be there for anyone who needed me, until I needed a caregiver of my own. For the last 6 months or so, my wife has been keeping a close eye on me, making sure my recovery process is continuing to go in the right direction. I finally saw the impact that caregivers have–if Wendy hadn’t been stubborn enough in making sure I got to the hospital or got the very best care, I definitely wouldn’t be here. As many ups and downs as there are in this journey, it’s all worth it because I know she has my back.
As we honor the caregivers of our own campers, I want you all to ask yourselves, “what am I here for?” Obviously, you’re not put on this earth to witness a loved one endure cancer, but you are here to make them smile, love them, and be there for them every step of the way. Some may heal and some may not, but regardless of the circumstances, Camp Good Days is a place that welcomes all, allowing you to create joyous memories that will last a lifetime.