Periwinkle Foundation

Camp YOLO and the World’s Greatest

Photo Booth Fun

YOLO Campers Posing in the Photo Booth

Celebrating its 20th year, Camp YOLO continues to provide teens with an experience that campers describe as, “the quickest weekend with new friends that become family in a matter of days.” Last weekend The Periwinkle Foundation hosted the largest Camp YOLO to date, serving 143 patients and their siblings treated at the Cancer and Hematology Centers, Cardiology Center, Rheumatology Clinic, Renal Center, Allergy and Immunology Center, and Retrovirology Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital

This spring, the theme World’s Greatest celebrated Houston’s very own World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. But ask any counselor or volunteer, and they’ll tell you the World’s Greatest can be found in the very campers that spent a weekend growing in community, trying new things such as the ropes course, crafting in the art barn and making the best of every moment despite the rain.

To see more great memories from Camp YOLO, visit the Photo Album here.

Vote for Periwinkle in Northwestern Mutual Foundation Camp Vote Competition

Northwestern Mutual, presenting sponsor of the 2018 Rose Bowl Game®, believes that every child deserves a life of laughter, adventure and fun. The company will once again shine a light on the fight against childhood cancer at the 129th Rose Parade® with their float, titled “Letting Kids Be Kids.” The float celebrates the joy of summer camp and will feature childhood cancer survivors who have been positively impacted by summer camps through their treatment.

The float will also honor and celebrate people in communities who, quietly and without desire for reward or recognition, act in selfless, generous and kind ways to help others. One of Northwestern Mutual’s float riders, who has made a difference in the lives of others, includes our very own Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer.

Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer is pediatric oncologist at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers in Houston. As the medical director for Camp Periwinkle, Dr. Dreyer assists children with cancer and their siblings during camp. She has attended the week-long summer camp for 30 years, serving as the medical director for the last 25, and also serves on The Periwinkle Foundation Board of Directors.

Picture of a happy camper at Periwinkle Day Camp

Happy camper at Periwinkle Day Camp 2017

In celebration of the float and featured riders in the parade, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation launched a national contest where the public can help nonprofit camps earn a $20,000 grant. The Periwinkle Foundation has been chosen to participate in the contest and needs your vote to grow Periwinkle Day Camp!

Vote Periwinkle to provide a Day Camp for kids to just be kids again

Starting today, December 20, 2017, you are invited to visit to vote for your favorite camp, all of which serve children and families affected by childhood cancer. You may vote once per day. The three camps that receive the most votes by January 7, 2018 will each receive a $20,000 grant. The grant awards will be used to deepen and expand opportunities for children and families with cancer to attend camp, providing future campers with invaluable experiences that can help restore the sense of childhood that can be lost during and following treatment.

Since 2012, Northwestern Mutual’s Childhood Cancer Program has been committed to funding research and providing help for families during treatment, as well as supporting survivors and their families as they continue to live their lives beyond cancer. We invite you to further this program and the programs of The Periwinkle Foundation by casting your vote everyday. Thank you for growing the Periwinkle community of healing!

Click Here to Vote Today and Everyday through January 7, 2018

Long Term Survivor Program: The Year in Review

The Long Term Survivor program meets monthly to connect childhood cancer survivors in a social setting to grow in friendship and fellowship. From socials to baseball games to fundraising events, the Long Term Survivors are all about giving back, but also about having fun! As we reflect on 2017, we highlight some great memories from the Long Term Survivors in 2017!


Members and Family joined at Saint Arnold Brewery for the Annual Hops and Hot Tamales Friends Event

LTS Members on bike at Periwinkle Cycle

LTS Members participated in Periwinkle Cycle, raising over $2,000 for Periwinkle camps, arts and survivor programs

Served as Counselors at both Spring and Fall Family Camp

Picture of LTS member swinging golf club

Practiced aim and swings at one of the most popular socials at Top Golf!

Served as Counselors and Activity Leaders at Periwinkle Day Camp

Cheered on the Houston Astros in a season to remember!

Served as Counselors, Arts & Craft Leaders and Volunteers at Camp Periwinkle

Seasons Greetings Party in July like it was Mid-December!

Wished for good luck at the famous Bingo in the Heights

Served as counselors at both Spring and Fall Camp YOLO

Joined for a phenomenal weekend at the LTS Retreat!

Participated in The Periwinkle Kickball Classic and raised over $1500 for Periwinkle camps, arts and survivor programs

Volunteered weekly in the Periwinkle office to further community programs

Painted pottery just in time for the Holiday Season

Volunteered at the 10th Iron Sommelier presented by AUTOSOL

Members gather around the table at the annual holiday party

Welcomed in the holidays at the Annual Holiday Party at Star Pizza

What a fantastic year for the Periwinkle Long Term Survivor program! The 2018 calendar is shaping up to be another exciting year for LTS. If you would more information on the Periwinkle Long Term Survivor or would like to get involved, please email Meredith Massey at





Long Term Survivor Retreat: Let the Good Times Roll

This past weekend, 29 Long Term Survivors and five volunteers and staff members joined for the annual Long Term Survivor Retreat. Since 1998, The Periwinkle Foundation has hosted a weekend retreat to accompany the year-long Long Term Survivor (LTS) program offered to adults 18 years and older who were treated at Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Center. A majority of the weekend’s participants are former campers of Camp Periwinkle and Camp YOLO, and the LTS program offers an avenue for participants to continue to be a part of the Periwinkle community of healing.

During the weekend retreat, Long Term Survivors return as campers to enjoy new friendships and fellowship among classic camp activities like canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, arts and crafts and the ropes course. The weekend blends generations of survivors to not only join in fun camp activities, but also to connect in sharing stories and challenges associated with being a cancer survivor. One Long Term Survivor reflects, “LTS is my second family.  I find the retreat to be an amazing gathering and experience that gives me emotional support and confidence.”








The Long Term Survivor program operates year-round through monthly socials, educational opportunities and Periwinkle events for survivors to give back to the cancer community. This is one program campers never graduate from, they continue to celebrate year after year as a Long Term Survivor! To see more great memories of the LTS Retreat, visit the photo album here. If you are interested in learning more about the Long Term Survivor program, please contact Meredith Massey at



P.S. The LTS group had a great kickball practice at the retreat! Support the LTS Team during the Periwinkle Kickball Classic by donating here to continue Periwinkle’s camps, arts and survivor programs!


YOLO! The Places You’ll Go

Nearly a month after Hurricane Harvey impacted the greater Houston area, 138 teenagers and 61 volunteers joined this past weekend for Camp YOLO to experience a sense of normalcy and comfort. Year after year, teenagers from Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer, Hematology, Cardiology, Immunology and Allergy, Retrovirology, Renal and Rheumatology centers return for a weekend to what many consider their second family. In less than 48 hours, campers form friendships with their peers and bonds with their counselors while experiencing non-stop camp activities like canoeing, arts and crafts, horseback riding, wheelchair sports and the ropes course.

This year themed Dr. Seuss, campers revisited characters and quotes from some of their favorite childhood books. Seven campers who graduated this session especially took to the idea of YOLO! The Places You’ll Go as they imagine life beyond Camp YOLO. A YOLO graduate shared,

“YOLO is the shortest yet most meaningful weekend that no amount of money or luxury could offer.”

These thoughts were echoed by many others who shared just how special the YOLO community is to them.

To see more great memories from Camp YOLO, visit the Photo Album here.


Catch the Adventure: Periwinkle Day Camp

We had a successful week at Periwinkle Day Camp filled with lots of laughs and tons of fun as campers joined in on the theme Catch the Adventure. 65 campers, 30 counselors and activity leaders, and over 30 day volunteers helped make the week possible. Camper group names included the Race Cars, Spaceships, Sailboats, and Airplanes to keep the adventure going throughout the week. For the second year in a row, Periwinkle Day Camp was hosted at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church for the incredible hospitality.

Here is a recap of the week:

Monday: We kicked off Day Camp with a sweet start of breakfast donated by Shipley Do-Nuts and stayed fueled throughout the day with lunch provided by Au Bon Pain.  The day’s activities included Arts & Crafts, Sports, 9-Square and a special cooking session with Marissa Allen from First and Full. Our first day ended with a Magic Show performed by Kyle Ryan, a local magician.

Tuesday: Back at it for day two, Kolache Factory donated sweet and savory treats to fuel us for a day of more Arts & Crafts, Sports, an epic Minute to Win it Challenge and experiments with Mad Science. Midday, we had a special appearance from the world famous Chick-fil-A cow who also donated a delicious lunch. The day ended with a show from the Houston ZooMobile to show off a few animals and teach us about protecting wildlife.

Wednesday: Midweek, campers were looking good donning this year’s Day Camp t-shirt! With a great breakfast provided by Einstein Bros. Bagels, campers joined in on Arts & Crafts, climbed a 20-foot rock wall, played games on an inflatable and joined in on more sports in the gym. The icing on the cake (or rather the cookie) was decorating cookies generously provided by Three Brothers Bakery.

Thursday: A little rain sure didn’t stop the fun at Day Camp with activities like building stuffed animals, cooking more delicious treats, arts & crafts and a phenomenal golfing session with The First Tee. To top it off, Bernie’s Burger Bus provided the camp with burger sliders and chips for lunch before music performances by Shreya and Hannah courtesy of our partner, Amp Ur Room.

Friday: The campers came prepared with their swimsuits for a fun day of water activities. A breakfast donation from Randalls fed our campers with great pastries and muffins. Campers were eager to go outside to hop on the water slide, play water balloon volleyball, and have water wars. Inside, campers had fun with laser tag and an adventure scavenger hunt. Phoenicia Specialty Foods provided meat and cheese platters for a great lunch. Lastly, we joined as a camp to watch the week’s slideshow with highlights from each day. We also got to experience a live performance by Amp Ur Room artist Luke Levenson who came all the way from Nashville, TN to be a part of Day Camp!

Thank you to all campers, families, volunteers and staff who made Periwinkle Day Camp an inviting, welcoming and life-changing experience for children 7-12 years of age who are affected by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The Periwinkle Foundation is strengthened by your support and service. Thank you for growing our community of healing!


Summer Intern: Morgan Dickson, Summer Programs Coordinator

Please help us welcome our interns! This summer we are lucky enough to have three interns at the office helping with such things as Day Camp, Volunteer Coordination and Camp Periwinkle. We are so happy to have Morgan as a part of our team this summer.

A little bit about Morgan:

“My name is Morgan Dickson and I am going to be the Summer Programs Corrdinator for The Periwinkle Foundation this summer. I will be a junior Communications major at Texas A&M University (whoop!) when I return in the fall. I am passionate about both working with the ill and working with children, and have spent time volunteering at places like the Ronald McDonald House Houston and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. In my free time I love to spend time with friends, travel, and cheer on the Fightin’ Texas Aggie football team!”

Summer Intern: Marie-Claire Clay, Volunteer Database Coordinator

Please help us welcome our interns! This summer we are lucky enough to have three interns at the office helping with such things as Day Camp, Volunteer Coordination and Camp Periwinkle. We are so happy to have Marie-Claire as a part of our team this summer.

A little bit about Marie-Claire:

“Marie-Claire Clay just finished her sophomore year as a math major and art history minor at the University of Notre Dame. When she’s not trudging through the Indiana snow, she enjoys listening to live music, exploring new restaurants in her hometown, Houston, and lounging outside in her hammock. She is looking forward to her summer position as the Volunteer Database Coordinator for Periwinkle.”

Summer Intern: Serjio Brereda, Day Camp Coordinator

Please help us welcome our interns! This summer we are lucky enough to have three interns at the office helping with such things as Day Camp, Volunteer Coordination and Camp Periwinkle. We are so happy to have Serjio as a part of our team this summer.

A little bit about Serjio:

“My name is Serjio Brereda and I go to the University of Houston studying Political Science with a focus in Nonprofit Management. My love for nonprofit work comes from my desire to give back to people because I love people

In my spare time I like to read and write. My all-time favorite author is Mitch Albom and his first book Tuesday’s with Morrie grounds me and I read that book once a  year.”

Young Writers Series: Tayden

We are so proud of our Splendid Review writer, Tayden Ybarra, whose story was selected for the Young Writers Reading at Menil Fest! The Splendid Review is wonderful creative writing program collaboration between the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Caner and Hematology Centers and Writers in the Schools.

Check out her inspiring story here:

Tayden’s Story

Today, I feel sad because I want to go home. And I don’t want to have cancer anymore. Everything is the hardest part. I wish everyone knew how hard it was. But I’m afraid to tell everyone because they’ll talk about me. But living with cancer is hard. I am not contagious. I have cancer and that makes me sad.

My cancer is in my brain and in my eyes, and it involves my optic nerves. That means I can’t see very well. And that makes me sad and I worry about my eyes. I’m afraid to go to school because people will laugh at me and talk about me. I’m scared and sad about that.

One day, I might have a seeing-eye dog. I’d dye her pink and black. She’d wear a tutu and tiara and doggy heels. She’d be my best friend. She’d be a Golden Retriever. But I don’t want a Pit Bull. She’d be named Tator Tot. She’d go to Walmart and Justice and Build-a-Bear and American Girl Doll store, and Disney World with me. To the cafeteria, to school. Everywhere! She’d be trained and would listen to me. I could take her anywhere. And she’d protect me. She’d let me know if there was a car coming. She’d be potty trained. I’d feed her, too. And she’d sleep next to me in my bed. I’d feel awesome to have a dog. She’d be my best friend forever, and I’d buy her a pink and black car with a “T” on it. She’d be spoiled.


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