Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

What Junior Camp Good Days means for kids: one girl's story

  • 0
Support this work for $1 a month

Screaming on a roller coaster, or splashing your feet on a splash pad

A red, white and blue heart painted on your cheek.

Flossing. Dabbing.

Being a regular kid.

Isabella "Bella" Phelan's 7-year-old body has gone through so much already, after beating back B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia three times.

Last week, she was among 54 children ages 4 to 7 who either have cancer or have survived cancer who were treated to four delightful, carefree days at Junior Camp Good Days.

No thinking about chemo. Or radiation. Or needles or any of that stuff.

"She hasn't stopped talking about it," her mother, Jamie Phelan, said Saturday in a phone interview before picking her up from her final day there.

Bella has come home every day a little tired, but elated about all the fun she has had at the camp based at St. Philip's the Apostle Church in Cheektowaga, where just shy of 100 volunteers were on hand to make sure every kid had a memorable time.

The children were treated to a carnival and also went on field trips to Fantasy Island, the Explore & More Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children’s Museum at Canalside, Billy Beez indoor playground, Palm Island Water Park and Get Air!

"I rode all the rides at Fantasy Island!" Phelan said her daughter gushed after that field trip.

It was just over three years ago when Bella was first diagnosed with leukemia.

"She had been sick off and on for a couple of months," her mother recalled. In the week or so before they learned what was ailing her, Bella was fatigued, pale and complaining of body aches.

"She was low energy, and that was not like Bella," her mother said.

Tests revealed it was leukemia and she began chemotherapy. She went into remission and attended her first Junior Camp Good Days that summer.

But last year, the cancer came back and she underwent a more intensive form of chemo to prep her for a bone marrow transplant. Her donor: her big sister, Peyton, who was 11, at the time.

"She was a perfect match," Phelan said.

That Halloween, doctors discovered there were still cancer cells in Bella's system and began a new approach called CAR-T cell immunotherapy.

"She did really good with that," Phelan said. After one more round of the new therapy, Bella was declared back in remission – and that meant Bella could go back to Junior Camp Good Days.

Bella had to wear a face mask when she went outside, and the staff paid extra attention when she complained of a headache. But none of that stopped her from enjoying the camp. She raced from one carnival activity to the next, gathering as many tickets as she could so she could collect prizes like little plastic rings for herself, her sister and her counselor.

The organization has been great to the whole family, Phelan said. It has offered a special camp for siblings of cancer patients, like Peyton, and provided family entertainment for the whole family.

"Our life has changed so much with this 'new normal,' " Phelan said. "They help us get away from it and be a family again. They're just amazing."

0 Comments

Tags

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Eating smaller meals and cutting calories is a more effective way to manage weight than intermittent fasting, when consumption is restricted to a narrow window of time. That’s the conclusion of researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who studied the eating, sleeping and waking patterns of 547 adults over a six-month period.

Officials say a 32—year-old mother in Massachusetts is expected to be charged in the killing of her two children and the injuring of her infant son. Authorities arrived at a house in Duxbury on Tuesday night after receiving reports of a woman jumping out of a window. They found her and the children unconscious with obvious signs of trauma. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz says the mother, Lindsay Clancy, remains hospitalized and will be arraigned on homicide charges after she is released. He says it appears the children were strangled. Police and firefighters responded to the home after getting a 911 call from a male resident who reported the woman jumped out the window.

Scientists say delivering gene therapy directly to the brain holds great promise. The first brain-delivered gene therapy on the market was recently approved in Europe and the U.K. for a rare genetic disorder called AADC deficiency. It causes developmental delays and movement disorders in kids. New Jersey drugmaker PTC Therapeutics plans to seek approval for the treatment in the U.S. this year. Meanwhile, about 30 studies in the U.S. are testing gene therapy directly to the brain for other disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Challenges remain, especially with diseases caused by more than a single gene. But scientists say the evidence supporting this approach is mounting.

The family of a student who died from alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity will receive nearly $3 million from Bowling Green State University to settle its hazing-related lawsuit. A copy of the agreement announced Monday says the family of Stone Foltz and the university will work together to eliminate hazing on college campuses. A university investigation found that Foltz died of alcohol poisoning in March 2021 after a fraternity event where there was a tradition of new members attempting to finish a bottle of alcohol. Both sides say the settlement will allow them to focus on ending hazing.

FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Natural gas stoves have become the latest flashpoint in America’s increasingly volatile political culture, after a top federal regulator publicly mulled over banning the appliances.

President Joe Biden is expected to name the man who ran his administration’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic as his next chief of staff. Word of Jeff Zients' hiring comes from two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klain, is preparing to leave the job in the coming weeks. Since his role as the administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term.

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News