September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Nearly 1,000 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer in Canada every year. Cancer treatment can take a toll – physically and emotionally – both for the child and the child’s immediate family.

This is why Campfire Circle provides kids and families affected by childhood cancer in Ontario with year-round social supports, including programs that meet the emotional and developmental needs of diagnosed children.

“Every child’s cancer journey is different, and during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re reminded just how brave children facing cancer are, each and every day,” says Alex Robertson, CEO, Campfire Circle. “That’s why what we do is so important: we let kids just be kids. We bring laughter, joy, friendships and the magic of camp to children when they need it most.”

While receiving treatment at SickKids in Toronto, Maddy was sitting upright in her hospital bed, head tilted towards the hallway, when she could hear the ‘plink, plink’ of a ukulele. Maddy loves music and dancing—and the oncology ward was the last place she and her family expected to experience music.

“Lo and behold, it was a Campfire Circle volunteer,” says Maddy’s parent. “Because of Maddy’s brain tumour, we were in and out of the hospital for more than a year and a half, and Campfire Circle brought all of us so much joy at such a difficult time.”

In Ottawa, Carissa and her family experienced the fun of Campfire Circle during March Break Day Camp. Carissa’s mom says she was hooked from the start and adds she was so grateful that her daughter got to have fun like any other kid.

A nurse had recommended overnight camp and assured Carissa’s mom that she would be well taken care of with onsite oncologists and nurses at Campfire Circle’s Muskoka camp site – the only overnight oncology camp in Canada able to provide onsite IV chemotherapy and blood transfusions.

“I was nervous,” says Rachel, Carissa’s mother. “But Carissa was ready. She really wanted to do it because she’s very independent, even though she’s in a wheelchair.”

“I was in tears when I got the video and pictures of all the stuff she got to do. She even got to go wakeboarding! And she was with kids like her, which she never really got to do before because she was isolated throughout her treatment,” she says.

Campfire Circle is often referred to as the social cure for cancer. We provide a safe space where kids play, grow and enjoy new experiences in a welcoming environment. Our programs celebrate kids for who they are – not what they have.

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we invite you to read the many stories of those affected by childhood cancer.  You can find our newsletters here:

Campfire Circle Friends of Camp newsletters