Our Superhero Kids range in age from birth to young adults. They are newborn babies, kindergarten students, little league baseball players, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, swimmers, track stars, artists, dancers, the kid next door. These kids and their families suddenly find themselves in a world that has been turned upside down. Quite often, our Superhero Kids who are in treatment, suffer a compromised immune system, must be home schooled, and must limit their exposure to environments outside of the home.
When meeting Cami for the first time, you would never guess that she has been battling a rare blood disorder since birth. Cami, age 13 and in the 8th grade, is bubbly, smiles all the time, and her enthusiasm for life is contagious.
What you do not know about this positive young woman is that she is exhausted most of the time, has headaches and nausea from all her medications, deals with constant joint pains, and is very anemic. She can only attend school half of the day, and then must come home for a nap. She pushes through these hard times with a smile on her face.
Cami is an accomplished dancer who has studied ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop for many years. This past year, Cami had to make the heartbreaking decision to give up her pursuit of dance, because it was becoming too difficult for her body to keep up with the long hours and more strenuous pointe program. It was a very difficult time for Cami, and as her mom describes, it was a “devastating spring”.
Around this same time, Cami heard about Camp Rocky Ridge, a weekend camp for teens dealing with cancers and blood disorders sponsored by Superhero Kids. She decided to give it a try. Prior to camp, she did not realize there were so many others who were also battling cancers and blood disorders. It was the first time she had met others with similar experiences. She was able to truly be herself and feel “normal” visiting with other teens and discussing the challenges and various treatments she has faced her whole life in a truly supportive atmosphere. She got to zip-line, learn archery, play games, and even nap (she especially loved that the other campers needed to also!). Cami’s favorite part of the camp was participating in a drum circle with the other teens where they could all “focus on the beat” and forget their diseases, if only for little while. When she arrived back home, Cami described Camp Rocky Ridge as the best weekend of her life!
Cami feels very grateful to the Superhero Kids supporters who have given her the opportunity to meet so many amazing teens, and to realize that she is not alone. She has maintained contact with many of the other campers and looks forward to seeing them all again. Her mom describes Cami’s Rocky Ridge experience as transformative and is so thankful for all the support that Superhero Kids provides to the Children’s Blood and Cancer Center.
When asked about her blood disorder, Cami says, “most people might think that I wish I never had this disease, but it has given me so many opportunities. I have met so many wonderful people and have experienced things (like Camp Rocky Ridge) that I never would have if I didn’t have it”. Cami is a recipient spokesperson for the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas, works closely with the young dancers at Ballet Austin during summer camps and backstage at The Nutcracker, and is currently acting as well. Cami is our true Superhero Kid!!!!!
Meet Parker, a remarkable young man, one of the Superhero Kids, who has, as he puts it “Kicked cancer out the door”.
Parker is a perfect example of one of our Superhero Kids. With his courage and determination, he inspires us all to keep up the fight.
In early 2009, Parker began having severe headaches and vomiting. Within a few weeks, Parker was diagnosed at the young age of 5 with a malignant brain tumor. It was a long road for Parker but the tumor and cancer were no match for him and he has finally beaten the disease. After learning to walk and run again, Parker recently finished one of the Survivor Challenge 5K races with his mom. Read about Parker’s journey, and how he stood up to Cancer and “kicked Cancer out the door”.
There are many more Superhero Kids like Parker, some who have won the battle, and some who have not. It is these kids who inspire all of us to do something more to help make the journey a little more bearable.
Dylan is the perfect example of a Superhero Kid. Dylan will be competing in the Livestrong Marathon in 2013 along with his fellow Superhero Kids team members. He is a true inspiration to all of us.
Read the inspiring letter he wrote to Jay Leno to help encourage Mr. Leno to come to Austin and participate in the Austin Cow Auction which was held on November 13, 2011.