Youngsters affected by most cancers take pleasure in weekend of tenting with household

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CAPE MAY, NJ (WPVI) — “Very often when you’re diagnosed with cancer, the bills come and family vacations just aren’t possible,” said Susan Olstad, regional director of Camp Quality USA.

Camp Quality USA and its 17 offices across the country are dedicated to creating interactive opportunities for children with cancer. They also invite their family members, who often fight alongside their little warriors.

Such was the case for Camp Quality New Jersey’s first family weekend, held at Sun Retreats Seashore in Cape May. In the past few days, 17 families came to sit around the campfire, swim in the pool and play minute games to win it.

“I was really able to connect and talk to a lot of them,” said 10-year-old Hayden Lawrence. “And I found out that I wasn’t the only one.”

8 years ago, the young girl from Howell Township was diagnosed with cancer.

“Hayden had leg pains, some bloody noses,” said her mother, Lindsay. “That’s when we found out that she had a positive leukemia diagnosis.”

The family got behind Hayden and kept saying, “You got this!” And through all of that fighting, Hayden emerged cancer-free five years ago.

But even though doctor visits have been minimized, the worry never really goes away.

“A lot of times, after our kids get through cancer treatment and their hair grows back and all of that stuff, I feel like the kids get a little forgotten,” Lindsay said. “And that’s something they do year after year and they build comrades and build relationships.”

The Lawrence family was grateful for the weekend getaway, which was free for all families thanks to donors and volunteers.

“They have medical staff here, they have everything you need here. And you don’t have to worry about spending time with your family,” said William Lawrence, Hayden’s father. “We talked about camping like this for years, but we just never did it, never could. Now we are here and that is something fantastic.”

To learn more about Camp Quality New Jersey’s upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, visit the website.

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