Make it a Splendid Week: Periwinkle Camps

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In recognition of September as Childhood Cancer, Sickle Cell Disease, Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) and Histiocytosis Awareness Month, The Periwinkle Foundation is launching a month-long series of stories, articles, engagement opportunities and posts. Follow along on Periwinkle’s Facebook and Instagram for daily features highlighting these life-threatening illnesses, and the ways in which Periwinkle provides a community of healing for children and families cared for at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

Each week during the month, we’ll highlight a Periwinkle program area and the ways in which Periwinkle children and families engage in the Periwinkle community of healing. This week’s focus is Periwinkle’s camp series, including Camp Periwinkle, Camp YOLO, Periwinkle Day Camp, and Periwinkle Family Camp.

To begin the week, this edition of Make it a Splendid Week gives a sneak peek into a Camp Periwinkle tradition! Hala’s artwork compliments Joey’s writing, be sure to write Hala a Postcard from the Road (Artwork Number 54)! Make it a Splendid Week!

Making A Mark®
Night in the Dark Sea
Hala, Age 18
Being trapped in the hospital makes me want to go out and do fun teen stuff. The beach is where I want to go when I get better.

The goal of Periwinkle camps is to provide a safe, emotionally healing and fantastic adventure to give every camper the opportunity to grow in independence and self esteem,  leaving camp a stronger survivor.

Many children arrive at camp frightened and wondering what in the world they will be able to do away from home! From the second they get off the bus, they learn that they can do everything just like “normal” children. As one mother put it, “This is a camp where anyone can do anything – it’s about ‘CAN’ not ‘CAN’T’. It’s about being a kid, not being a sick/disabled/different kid – just a kid where possibilities are realities.”

Much of the volunteer staff is made up of the same nurses and doctors the children see at the hospital. Making happy memories together at camp, they develop a stronger and more supportive relationship. After camp, seeing each other becomes a positive experience as they recall the joy and laughter of The Periwinkle Foundation’s camps. Enjoy a little insight, by Joey, on a Periwinkle tradition.

The Camp Periwinkle Tradition

I went fishing and kissed a fish. It’s a Camp Periwinkle tradition. If you haven’t been to camp, now you know! It felt slimy. And then it tried to bite me. I almost dropped it! To get it to calm down, I traced my hand down its back by its fin. Sometimes it calmed down; sometimes it didn’t. It flinched and moved around. Even though it was slimy and slippery, I caught it. Barely!

I almost caught a fish 26-inches long. It was big! It pulled and pulled and it yanked the bait off the hook. When we went fishing, we put bad leftovers on the hook.

Weird thing: It actually ate bad leftovers. The stuff that people barely ate. The things I didn’t get seconds on. But not the pizza. I totally got fourths and fifths of pizza! Everybody wants pizza!

I even hooked myself a little. It hurt and felt sharp! In my mind I yelled “AHHH….AHHH…AHHH!!!” But it was worth it to do fishing. It’s always worth it!

-Joey, age 10

This entry is a part of our series “Make it a Splendid Week”! Follow along weekly to enjoy excerpts from The Splendid Review, an anthology of poems, short stories and autobiographies written by talented young writers engaged in the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

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