SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – For kids, summer is a season for fun. For these kids who have had to come face to face with cancer, a community just for them is coming back.
It’s a summer return campers have been waiting for. After a two year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp United Order Of True Sisters is making a comeback.
“I’ve been waiting for this second time for like, three years, because of COVID,” said Sebastian Dominguez, a camper and cancer survivor.
Young cancer survivors and children who are being treated for cancer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital get to enjoy a stress-free week of fun. Most of the camp counselors are cancer survivors themselves.
The camp’s director said this has a big impact on the campers.
“To see a 38-year-old whose had the same disease as him or her be here, a full professional, some of them with families and being healthy, makes them look at the future in a much different way,” said Dr. Athena Pefkarou, camp director.
Camp UOTS has taken extra safety precautions because of the pandemic. Campers and counselors had to be vaccinated in order to attend and get a COVID test before camp started.
Activities include movie nights, pool parties, escape rooms, the zoo and so much more.
Ronnie Hernandez is a cancer survivor. He said he loves everything about the camp.
“It’s been a blast every year,” said Hernandez. “Campers are always great, I love meeting new people.”
Dominguez had brain cancer and has been in remission for three years. He said he really missed the camp during its hiatus.
“I kept asking my parents, ‘Have you guys gotten an email or anything from the camp?’ Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Dominguez. “When I got the mail, cause I got it in the mail, the invitation, and when I got it, I got super excited. I’ve been waiting for this moment.”
For Sebastian Lascano, who is also a cancer survivor, he said attending the camp helped to comfort him.
“After my first year of surviving, I was invited and it really cheered me up, because I was like, pretty sad for a while, so this really lightened my mood,” said Lascano.
Overall, the campers are excited to finally be back.
“Summer’s been kind of boring without it. There was not much to do and I was really missing the camp,” said Hernandez.
Campers will also enjoy activities at the campsite such as color wars, a dance party and a scavenger hunt.
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