Periwinkle Stories

Celebrating 40 Years, 1 Vision

“We began with the vision of filling a need we knew existed”, said Paul Gerson, Founder of The Periwinkle Foundation.

Since 1983, Periwinkle has provided programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults and families that have been impacted by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Join us as we celebrate Periwinkle’s 40th Anniversary and our vision to create a world of joy and healing beyond medicine.
In recognition of this milestone, we are sharing stories of the impact Periwinkle has made in the communities we serve and would love for you to share yours.

“Periwinkle inspired me to become a pediatric oncologist. “I’ve made a ton of wonderful friends over the years within the Periwinkle Foundation. Now our patients and our survivors have become really good lifelong friends, and I really cherish that and can’t imagine doing anything else with my career.”

— Tim Porea

“Periwinkle is my home away from home and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my second family.”

– Caroline Fitzgerald

“It’s a community of healing that helps the parents and the children and I’m so grateful to just be a small part of that.”

– Mary Jo Cantu

“What inspires me about Periwinkle is the difference that it makes in people’s lives. The people who work at Periwinkle, the children they support, and the families they support. The passion and the sincerity behind it all make me want to be a better person every day.”

– Madison Langley

“Through my eight years of involvement with the Periwinkle Foundation, I’ve learned to become a better leader, a better listener, and a better person not only for my personal life but my family, my friends, and my employees.”

– Justin Goodman

“Periwinkle inspires me because of the people that I work with. Every day, I see the amount of work that my coworkers put in, and it’s amazing. I’ve seen them go above and beyond for everybody and it’s something that I strive to do in my life. This is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with, the best organization I’ve ever worked for, and best camp I’ve ever been to. It’s an amazing experience and anybody that hasn’t experienced Periwinkle is missing out.”

– Jared Walton

“What inspired me to become involved with Periwinkle was that I had a friend who was eight years old and diagnosed with cancer and she became a part of the Periwinkle family. Seeing what it did for her, her family and all the others it has affected is what drew me to be a part of this organization and to continue to be a part of it and continue to give it my time and effort and love.”

— Lara Lack

“Periwinkle is probably the most important part of my life. From the day I first volunteered at Camp Periwinkle and met the kids, I knew it would be a part of my life forever, and it will be. I will never, ever not have Periwinkle as a major part of my life because it means so much to these kids that we’re helping.”

– David Steinhart

“What inspires me about Periwinkle? Almost everything. I’ve been a volunteer. This will be my 25th year at Camp Periwinkle. Every year I get more out of camp than I think our campers do. I’m so excited and involved and engaged, and I can’t think of a better organization to support. I’m just so blessed to be a part of their board, as well as a volunteer.”

– Jenifer Jarriel

“What I’ve learned and gained from these wonderful children and families has impacted me in ways I really didn’t know were possible. To see life through their eyes and to recognize the good, the kindness and the caring even during such challenging times is awe-inspiring.”

– Jeff Riley

“Periwinkle Foundation is about hope and enduring, and every single kid is inspirational.”

– Hubert Ho

“One year I returned from camp and my children were very young – my daughter said I am so happy to see you mom but you look different. Yeah that is likely the sunscreen, bug spray, glitter or sweat. Nope she declared “you are GLOWING” Periwinkle is impactful in so so many ways. The impact is not just for the campers and families we serve… it also impacts the entire community around it.”

– Michelle Fritsch

I never had a normal childhood, I grew up in a hospital. But it was within those hospital halls and rooms that I made connections with other children like me. It was through experiences like the Periwinkle Foundation that I’ve been able to truly begin to feel a part of something bigger than my diagnosis, it’s given me a voice. Thank you Periwinkle Foundation for all of the opportunities you’ve given pediatric cancer patients at a second chance at a childhood

– Bennett

“I decided to go to camp as a counselor 26 years ago because my neighbor attended the very first Periwinkle 40 years ago and loved it. I wanted to go in memory of her, so I went knowing no one. What I found was a family. Not just my fellow counselors and staff, but each of these kids has touched my life in immeasurable ways. They have all become my extended family and my life is richer for it. I joke that I will be the oldest counselor still in a cabin and I’m getting close, but I just not ready to give up the joy and fulfillment that comes from being with these kids for a week. In spite of their situation, their strength and childhood wonder inspire me and represent what is good in this world. I want to hold on to that forever”

– Alison Connor

“Periwinkle has allowed me to enjoy new friends, activities and trips, even when I was not feeling my best”

– Kelsey

“As a young physical therapist, I went to my first Camp YOLO to see kids out of the hospital setting and enjoy life. Little did I know that they would teach me more about acceptance, love, and family than I could have ever expected. Camp YOLO gives me hope. Hope that if a group of teens with varied diagnoses, backgrounds, and experiences can make a weekend feel inclusive and supportive, the love we feel at camp will spread outside its walls.

– Jen Dice

Periwinkle is probably the most important part of my life. From the day I first volunteered at Camp Periwinkle and met the kids, I knew it would be a part of my life forever, and it will be. I will never, ever not have Periwinkle as a major part of my life because it means so much to these kids that we’re helping.

– David Steinhart

“Periwinkle has greatly impacted my, my children, and my family’s life over these couple of years by showing us that we are not the only ones who go through hard times, and that apart from the hospital staff there are people who help us navigate through the path we had to live. Now a few years later with many changes in our lives my daughter is part of the long-term survivor program. I thank the Periwinkle Foundation for becoming a part of our family.

– Silvia Vazquez

Thank you, Periwinkle Foundation, for 40 years of service to the campers, families and patients. After 14 years as a camper at various camps, I now come back and give back to campers what The Periwinkle Foundation gave to me.

– Matt Ritch