This past Monday, June 27, 2011 would have been my daughter Teddi’s 42nd Birthday. As I do every year on this date, I think about all of the what ifs and what could have beens – what kind of young woman would she have grown up to become? What educational and career path would she have chosen? Would she be married and who would she have married? Would she have children? And, what would I have been doing all these years and these hours if my little girl had never gotten sick?
As many of you know, this has been a very sad and trying week for so many within the Camp Good Days’ family. Late Sunday afternoon, following a 15 month battle with multiple myeloma, a dear friend and volunteer with Camp Good Days and my brother-in-law, Ron Federico, lost his battle to cancer. Ron was surrounded by his family and friends in the ICU at Strong Memorial Hospital and everyone who was blessed to have known Ron is suffering a tremendous loss.
I met Ron some 31 years ago, when I was just a Dad desperately working to provide Teddi and other children with cancer with a residential camping experience not available to them at that time. For the next 20 years or so, Ron volunteered at the camping programs with the children and was an integral partner in planning the many camping programs and special experiences for the campers. Throughout the years, Ron also found the time to volunteer and help with many special fundraising events including Ridin’ for a Reason, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Wine Auction Dinner, Kazoo Fest, as well as Holiday Parties and other activities and events. Ron was a graduate of St. Bonaventure and spent his career working in government.
I was so thrilled that Ron met his wife, Tamara, at Camp Good Days. As many of you know, Tammy has been our Office Manager, Women’s Oncology Program Coordinator and such an important member of our staff here at Camp Good Days. Tammy and Ron were so good for each other and at the time that they got together, Tammy was a single mom, raising two young adolescent daughters and Ron became their rock. Anyone who knew Ron knows that he was as solid as an oak tree – always someone that could be counted on, and as the country song says, he was the kind of friend a friend would like to have. Ron was a great husband, a great step-father, a great brother-in-law, a great uncle, a great volunteer, a great brother, and a great son, as he would visit every Saturday and would take his Dad out to have a cigar. Ron retired from his career in December 2009 and sadly did not have the opportunity to enjoy that retirement as within a few months he was diagnosed with cancer. Ron was a gentleman in every sense of the word and words can’t truly express how much he will be missed.
Once again, I feel such great frustration and sadness, as we continue to watch and be affected by the complete devastation and toll that cancer takes on so many. It makes me that much more committed to CANCER MISSION 2020…THE END OF CANCER BY THE END OF THE DECADE. Cancer is an equal-opportunity disease – it doesn’t care if you are a man or a woman, if you are white, black, yellow, brown or orange, and it doesn’t care if you are old, middle aged or if you are a young child. We DO have the ability and the means in this country to find the answers to this fight on cancer, we just need to create the will in the American people that we will no longer accept cancer and the devastation and pain it causes and that we must have cohesive, comprehensive and collaborative actions to truly put an end to cancer by the end of the decade.
If you agree – JOIN THE MISSION AND SIGN THE PETITION! Visit www.cancermission2020.com today and help us put an end to all of this pain and suffering and sadness.
As we bury Ron on Thursday, I ask that you keep Tamara and their entire family in your thoughts and prayers, not only this week but in the weeks and months to come. I know that Teddi will be there to greet Ron at the gates of heaven, along with all the loved ones, special friends and family members who have passed away over the years.
Despite all of our sadness, we continue on with our important work and our programs. I am happy to report that summer camp officially kicked off on Monday and all seems to be going well with the campers who are having a great experience at the Sharing & Caring / Do The Right Thing Program at the Recreational Facility, as well as the Junior Good Days Program in the Syracuse area, which is for those campers who are still too little to attend overnight camp.
I know that I am looking forward to having a nice night out at the Rochester Rhinos game, on Friday, July 1, 2011 to help take my mind off all of the difficulties this week. If you are available, please join Camp Good Days at the Rochester Rhinos game at Sahlen’s Stadium, 460 Oak Street, Downtown Rochester. The gates open at 6:30 PM, the game begins at 7:30 PM, and it is the Rhinos Give Back to Camp Good Days Night! The Rochester Rhinos have been such great friends and supporters of the children at Camp Good Days over the years and we are thrilled that they have chosen us as the beneficiary of this special evening. Camp Good Days will receive $1.00 from each ticket sold on game day, as well as have the Quarters for Cancer table set up where attendees can make donations, purchase a ticket for the Courage Bowl Car Raffle, and JOIN THE MISSION BY SIGNING THE PETITION for CANCER MISSION 2020…THE END OF CANCER BY THE END OF THE DECADE!
Please remember to visit the Camp Good Days’ website, www.campgooddays.org, for all the information about our programs and special events and activities taking place and please take a moment to check out www.cancermission2020.com and join us in our important initiative to end cancer by the end of the decade, so that we no longer have to have such sad weeks as this one, losing someone so dear to us because of this dreadful disease!