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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Camping in to help children with cancer

A new initiative is calling on the community to help change the cancer story for children and their families.

Residents across the Hunter will camp from home to support Camp Quality next month.

In 2018, then 10-year-old Bonnie Hunter was faced with a fight most kids her age could not even imagine.

“We went swimming and we noticed she had a lump on her neck,” mum Jeannie-Marie said.

“And after a couple of rounds of antibiotics we went to see the pediatrician and he said we’d go into surgery tomorrow to get the lump removed and tested.

“After the surgery, in the time it took us to leave and pick up our young son, about ten minutes, the doctor called and told us to get to the hospital now.”

Bonnie had stage two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a cancer that originates from a specific type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.

“She was ten [and] had to start treatment straight away, she did around 5 months on chemo,” Jeannie-Marie said.

Fast forward almost two years later and Bonnie is living as normally as she can, despite the pandemic forcing her family into lockdown.

While she has since been cancer free, there is a small chance it can come back.

On Saturday 4 July, Bonnie and her family, based in Cessnock, will ‘Camp In’ to raise funds for a charity that helped them get through their battle.

The Camp Quality Camp In calls on the community to camp from their living rooms or backyards.

Funds raised will help Camp Quality support kids and their families facing cancer with services and programs in hospital, at school, at home and away from it all.

Chief Executive Deborah Thomas said now more than ever these kids need our help.

“Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID-19 so neither can we,” she said.

“Over 7,000 Camp Quality kids are now waiting for the fun and safety of a Camp Quality program. We are currently getting ready to restart our Camps and Family Fun Days to help our kids impacted by cancer, relieve the stress and anxiety of this heightened level of isolation.”

To register for Camp in for Camp Quality and help raise much needed funds for kids facing cancer go the charity’s website.

To donate to the Hunter family’s camp go to their fundraising page.

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