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Summer camp helps kids battling cancer, just be kids

WATCH ABOVE: Swimming, canoeing and art projects are some of the activities children take in at summer camp. It’s a chance for kids to socialize and have fun when they’re not in school. There’s one camp in our region that’s been helping to make the lives of sick kids better for decades. Global’s Natasha Pace reports.

AYLESFORD, N.S. – Camp Goodtime looks like your average summer camp, but it’s actually quite unique. Campers range in age from 7 to 16-years-old and all of them are living with or have battled cancer.

“When they come here they’re shy, they’re scared,” said Barbara Stead-Coyle from the Canadian Cancer Society. “They’re used to being in a world where they’re different. They come to camp good time and they’re like every other child and the cancer is what joins them, instead of what makes them different.”

Aila Stuart is one of 80 campers taking part this year. She has been fighting cancer since she was five-years-old.

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The camp gives her a chance to be around other sick kids who know the reality of living with cancer.

“The same thing they’re going through, I go through,” she said. “If I meet people that have the same cancer, I usually hang around with them and have some fun.”

Camp Goodtime helps kids battling cancer. Natasha Pace/Global News

Aila just finished a round of treatment before her eighth birthday, and says she was looking forward to seeing her friends at camp this summer.

“When I was in the hospital sometimes I got to go outside and play in the playground and go for a walk with my mom or my dad. But a lot of times I had to stay in and stay in my room because I was on isolation.”

This year, Camp Goodtime is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, more than 1,700 children have had the opportunity to attend the camp, forget the cancer and just be regular kids.

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“Unless you’ve been through cancer and been through the journey, you can’t really experience it,” Stead-Coyle said.

Camp Goodtime will wrap up for another year on Friday.

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