“Our family had 10 years of Camp Simcha support, activities, entertainment, retreats and outings. 10 magical years where dreams came alive! 10 years of support through many a difficult period. 10 years that changed life for siblings from ‘could have been resentful times’ to ‘Mummy I can’t wait to share ..this is so exciting…my friends are so jealous…we love our brother Benzy and all the fun he treats us to because of Camp Simcha’.

Camp Simcha meant a caressing loving hand, a caring shoulder to lean on, sharing our journey and riding the waves together … a lighthouse in stormy seas.

Camp Simcha very generously helped us with taxi expenses and so much more for the numerous appointments we had to get to throughout the year (some being over an hour’s journey) and many years of in-hospital stays Monday to Thursday every 3 month for treatment.

How can a mother express her gratitude when after being away in hospital from Monday morning till Thursday late with her son for treatment, she comes home fearing grumpy siblings.  Instead she finds them giggling in a corner hunched over a camera.  They had just come home from a big girls day out ‘ paintball shooting’ and they had a smashing time. They completely forgot to complain about being without me for 4 days ….and I had to brush away my exhaustion and listen for endless hours how much fun they had. I fell asleep in my own bed that night singing “Thank you Hashem for my blessings” and that is Camp Simcha.

One of our favourite memories was my son’s birthday gifts. The other kids were so excited when the gift and gas balloon arrived. Then they too got lovely a surprise: cards on their birthdays as well….so thoughtful and it made such a difference to them.

Purim day was always difficult because the noise level was too much for my son but each year his Camp Simcha volunteer turned up on Purim morning and took him away to have a fun (quieter) day and the rest of the family could have noisier fun knowing he was happy and taken care of.

Our highlight was the Family Retreat – we have such fond memories and they are all captured in a treasured album! We had the privilege of dinner for two -how can we forgot that? It was amazing: an upscale menu served to us like royalty and the kids nowhere to be seen.

We have now graduated and realise even more how much we gained from Camp Simcha. Our journey has many a bend and a twist which we are now navigating on our own. Just before Rosh Hashanah 2022, my son had surgery. My husband and I had to stay with him for an entire week afterwards as he suffered from severe side effects. I missed picking up the phone to my FLO venting my frustration, my anxiety and sharing my fears and her visiting as she used to.

I couldn’t believe the email inviting us to sign up for Camp Simcha Alumni! As much as I wanted Camp Simcha to continue forever and ever, I never dared to dream it out loud. After all, I had been treated many years and I knew others are having their turn now.  So it came as a real surprise. Honestly, I won’t want to miss a single Alumni Event – it’s like I won the lottery twice and I am so looking forward to all the treats and events.