Camp for kids with cancer goes virtual due to COVID-19

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Thousands of teenagers and children in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year.

One way for those kids battling cancer to feel a sense of normalcy is to go to Camp KEMO.

“To be able to go to camp allows a child to experience camp as it really would be experienced, whether they have cancer or not,” said Camp KEMO volunteer Joan Creed. Creed is also an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing.

This year, COVID-19 changed things, as an in-person camp was not an option.

“We have to realize that children with cancer; really anyone with cancer, child, teenager, adult, is what we call immunocompromised. And that means that it’s easier for them to get other illnesses and diseases. And if they get certain ones, they may not survive,” said Creed.

So Camp KEMO went virtual, still allowing staff, volunteers, counselors and campers the chance to connect.

“Camp is about connections, about friendships, about time together. And whether we could be in person or not was not important, it was the connections,” said Creed. “It’s about the love for one another, and we’ve managed to maintain that love and connection through the virtual community that we have.”

Creed has been a volunteer with Camp KEMO for 29 years. She calls the campers her heroes, because of how strong they are.

“I feel special today because I’m now a cancer survivor, so I want to be at camp as many years as I can. Because their courage, their determination, their love, helped get me through my diagnoses and my treatments. And now, my recovery,” said Creed.

For more information on Camp KEMO, click here.

Categories: Local News, News