Our mission is to provide a year-round series of programs for children and families facing the challenge of living with cancer, and other life-threatening, hematology related illnesses.
THE ISSUES THAT WE FACE
Since 1982, we haved served Central Florida children and families, BASE Camp has strived to help with the day- to-day challenges that children and families face. It is our goal to be a consistent presence that families can rely on. We support our families long-term, throughout their journey.
These devastating illnesses affect the entire family, not just the patient. When a child is diagnosed for example, their siblings often feel anxiety or fear that they too may become ill. Siblings sometimes feel guilty, because they can still participate in their favorite sports and activities. Siblings can also express jealousy, because the “sick child” is receiving more of mom or dad’s time and attention. The “well child” is often overwhelmed trying to cope with the serious illness of a sibling. Our goal is to help the patient to heal, and to help and support the siblings in their pain and suffering also. BASE Camp understands these issues and provides a monthly program where siblings along with the patient enjoy activities together. Our activities allow the sibling to accompany the patient; if the patient is not able to attend the activity, the sibling is encouraged to attend.
Children face tremendous challenges when a parent is diagnosed with cancer. Children are very perceptive. When Mom or Dad is suddenly hospitalized, or bed-ridden and not able to perform their normal tasks, children understand right away that something serious has happened. They can become frightened and confused. There are “support groups” for adults. BASE Camp outings are a “support group for kids”. Children are given an opportunity to spend time with other children that share their “journey”. Having the chance to talk to another child that is going through the same experience, or has gone through it and come out the other side, gives children confidence that they are not alone, and that they can get through this challenging time. We encourage children to support each other and offer one another encouragement that they alone can provide. It is amazing to see the relationships that have developed from these monthly outings.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, nothing else matters. One parent expressed it as feeling as if “the floor had caved in”. Parents are suddenly thrown into a world of doctors, diagnoses and medical procedures. Oftentimes this happens in a matter of days, not giving the parents a chance to catch their breath. Parents are often frightened, confused and angry. Our mission is to be a consistent source of support for parents. BASE Camp understands that parents need information, support groups where they can talk with other parents that share their same illnesses. Parents also need a “shoulder to cry on”, a place where they can talk to others that understand what they are going through. Connecting with another family that has survived their illness is a tremendous encouragement; finding another family to lend support surpasses cultural differences. These relationships help the family to “keep moving forward” giving them positive energy to complete the journey.
Adding to the stress of having a child with a life-threatening illness, families face a tremendous financial burden. Chemotherapy treatments for a child with cancer can last up to 36 months or more. Some treatments for hematology illnesses can be life-long. Many times one parent has to stop working while their child is on treatment. The financial challenges are even more difficult when the child is raised by a single parent.BASE Camp programs provide financial support for families at this critical time. We help families pay bills. It is our goal to provide REAL and MEANINGFUL Patient Aid to any family who needs it, so that they can stop worrying about bills and focus on getting well.
WHAT DOES BASE CAMP MEAN?
BASE Camp has two meanings; first it is an acronym for Believe, Achieve, Support and Educate. The second meaning is symbolic of the encampments found at the BASE of a mountainside where climbers can stop for rest, first aid, nourishment and encouragement along their journey up the mountainside. We at BASE Camp believe CANCER is a similar journey in the life of a child, and serve as the encampment where they and their family can come for help throughout that journey.
WHO WE SERVE
Children facing cancer and their siblings…
At BASE Camp, we include the child patient, during AND AFTER treatment has ended. We believe cancer effects the whole family and include the siblings in ALL of our activities. Our members are of all races, and religions. We presently serve over 300 children currently on treatment AND their siblings. We expect our numbers to increase annually for a number of reasons. First, because since 1982 we have continued to increase our reach in the community, by making our programs known to the doctors and clinics who serve these children. Secondly, and sadly, our numbers have increased, because each year the number of children being diagnosed with these illnesses has consistently increased.
Children whose parents have cancer…
In keeping with our desire to find and serve children facing cancer, we learned there were no programs for children whose parents had cancer. Therefore BASE Camp now offers the only programs available for these children to join others like them who have cancer or a family member facing cancer. We expect the number of children joining BASE Camp whose parents have cancer, to surpass the members with a child patient because there are more parents than children, who have cancer.
WHAT SETS BASE CAMP APART
We have created innovative programs with the goal of bringing these children and families together, so that they can socialize and help each other.
- Hospital Meals
- Milestone parties
- Food Baskets
- Parent Support Groups
- Overnight Camps
- 2nd Wishes
Details are on our “Services” page.