National Nursing Week: Meet Sarah Haze
Sarah Haze began volunteering as a nurse with Campfire Circle in 2014. She first heard about the charity through her younger cousin, Daniel, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
“It was such a challenging time and then my aunt and cousin got connected to Campfire Circle and Daniel got to go to overnight camp,” she explains. “Camp was just so magical – all these people trying to help out through such a difficult time. I really wanted to be a part of that somehow, to give back.”
Sarah works as a nurse in a rural emergency room in Norfolk County. Initially, she wasn’t sure if she could help because she didn’t have a paediatric oncology specialty. But, with her emergency medicine background, she was more than welcome at Campfire Circle and started volunteering at the Rainbow Lake site that summer.
Sarah now volunteers every summer for a few weeks and for one weekend at camp every season. In 2015, she worked at camp for the entire three months of summer.
“It was a really great experience. It was challenging because I had to keep up my availability at work as well. So I think I worked every day that summer, but I loved it.”
What motivates her to keep coming back? “I think you get a lot from camp. You would think that it’d be really exhausting, and you’d come home and be wiped but I think you just get so much from it that it just it energizes you more than anything.”
At Rainbow Lake, Sarah works in The Body Shop, or the medical building. She’s there for any health or medication concerns, monitors the campers, and helps with first aid.
Nursing as a profession has seen many challenges since the pandemic. “There’s definitely been some hard moments. But there’s also been a lot of very heartwarming moments as well.
There’s been a lot of people that have rallied behind nurses and who have been so thankful for us. So it makes it really rewarding to go and do that job when you have people who are so grateful for what you do.”
Volunteering at camp, especially, helps fill her cup.
“The second you walk through the front gates of camp, you just get an instant smile across your face. Everyone’s so welcoming there and appreciative and encouraging, and it’s like no other job I’ve ever had.”
What would Sarah tell other nurses who may be interested? Sarah knows her role is so important because it helps reassure families that they can safely send their medically complex kids to camp.
“I’ve had caregivers come up to the nurses, and they’ll say that their child’s a whole different child coming home from camp. And it’s just so nice to hear, even for them to just be able to relax for a few days, which is something they don’t get much of as the caregiver of a sick child.”
Campfire Circle has had an impact on her work life as well.
“Spending time with Campfire Circle has definitely given me a better understanding that it’s not just medications and treatments that help people through their illness. Camp is focused on getting kids better emotionally and letting them be kids again.”