For Camp Simcha children, our recent residential retreat was an eagerly anticipated few days.
Packed with fun and a rare taste of the independence their conditions often prohibit, the youngsters ranging in age from 6-18, spent a wonderful weekend together with our services team, alongside our Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers.
Among our volunteers this time, was Suri. No stranger to retreat – Suri, now 18; attended many when she was a child supported by Camp simcha, but this was her first as a volunteer.
Suri and her family came to Camp Simcha after she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2017 – on her 13th birthday. “Camp Simcha stepped in and supported us in so many ways, including a volunteer for me and for my sibling,” says Suri.
“I went to lots of retreats which were amazing, as well as Camp USA. I wanted to be a volunteer even while I was being supported by Camp Simcha and having treatment. I didn’t want to always get, I wanted to give as well.”
No longer needing Camp Simcha’s support, that opportunity finally came when Suri turned 18 and became a volunteer for us.
Suri, who now works part-time as a phlebotomist and also teaches, says: “I now support the sibling of a child who is ill, and this month I went to my first retreat as a volunteer.
“ I had always enjoyed retreat as a child. It was somewhere I felt able to be myself and where I could take part in all the activities even when I was in a wheelchair.
“But it felt really good to be there as a volunteer and have that feeling that I had come out the other side. I also hope that it was encouraging for the children who are on retreat now.”