Marcus’ story

camper outside at camp, smiling at archery

When I share Marcus’s story, I can still feel his soul…

Marcus was just shy of his 14th birthday when he was diagnosed with cancer. In that first year he had 5 surgeries, including having most of his pelvis removed. He was also an athlete, and he kept up with his swimming throughout his gruelling recovery. The first time he went to camp, I was thrilled for him, as a mom. As a doctor, I knew this was no small feat. Marcus needed IV anti-microbial treatments and he was in chemo. But, as his journey continued, I was able to see and feel for myself that camp can be as important as any chemo, radiation or surgical treatment—and I’m a doctor!

camper wearing a lifejacket, tubing on the water at camp

He went away for a glorious weekend at camp. He felt rotten but he loved every moment. Camp was life affirming for him. It prolonged his life. His adventures were legendary: swimming, archery, waterskiing, rock-climbing, and, of course his great love, music. There was a piano in the dining hall, and whenever Marcus played, a crowd of kids, counsellors and volunteers would inevitably gather. And Marcus was an old soul: what he loved to play was classical music, especially Chopin.

camper holding microphone at camp

Marcus was a gifted musician. It was his joy, and he loved to share music with others. When he was playing piano, it was transcendent. The more he excelled, the more it became therapeutic. In fall 2019, he came home from camp very excited about his audition to the prestigious University of Toronto music program. But, he was also more tired than usual, and when we looked back at his camp photos, we could see the change in a bump on his forehead. He had surgery to remove half his skull and he also had whole brain and whole spine radiation.

He took a day off to audition. His performance that day was the most spectacular of his life. He used to tell me: “Mum, I can feel my soul when I play.” And when I talk about him, to this day, I can feel his soul.

When Marcus died, I knew I would support camp forever, and that’s why I’ve left a gift to camp in my Will. Camp never asked anything from us. Knowing that our gift means camp will be free, forever, for kids who need it…that makes me feel Marcus’s soul, too.

— Dr. Tania Bruno, Mom to Marcus (2002-2020),
Legacy Circle Donor

mother and son in a picture together

You can also leave a lasting gift for Campfire Circle and continue to be a part of ‘healing through happiness’ through legacy giving. To learn more, please go to or download our guide here.

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