Erica’s Story In November 2010, a 7-year old named Erica Miller was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). ALL is the most common childhood cancer. For Erica, cancer treatments resulted in many hospital visits and stays. While at Geisinger’s oncology clinic, doctors and child life specialists told Erica about “Camp Dost”, one of Camp Victory’s partner group camps. At first, Erica did not want to attend, nor did she want her mom, Jayleen, to leave her alone. However, it did not take long for the magic and love from wonderful counselors and previous campers, (who also battled illnesses and similar feelings) to show Erica that by attending camp, she would become part of a family and would experience a week of unforgettable adventure. After meeting new friends and enjoying a variety of activities, the hardest part about going to camp for Erica was leaving. Erica continued attending Camp Dost at Camp Victory for 10 years until her camp graduation in 2017. She has been off chemotherapy since 2012. Being a graduate was a bittersweet accomplishment for this cancer survivor. It meant leaving the special family that helped her grow, heal and succeed. Erica’s time away will be short, however, as she plans to return to Camp Dost as a counselor as soon as she is eligible. Until Erica returns as a counselor, she has found another way to be a part of Camp Victory’s magic. She is now a certified lifeguard and a Camp Victory employee! She hopes to help campers have a safe experience and make magical memories. In the future, Erica would like to work in the medical field, possibly with genetics. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have “Dr. Erica Miller” visit Camp Victory in a few years and share her success story with other timid little 7-year olds!
Each year from spring to fall, Camp Victory hosts various camps; one week for cancer survivors like Erica, a week for kids with heart disease, diabetes, spina bifida, autism, and many more. The Camp is accessible for all abilities - the treehouse has a ramp, the zip line and rock- climbing wall have adaptive harnesses, the swimming pool has a lift and a ramp, and the camp paths are paved. There's a Med Shed where campers can have any medical needs addressed - even chemo. To learn more about Camp Victory or to make a donation, check out CampVictory.org or follow the Camp on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In the following 25 years, Camp Victory has grown to nearly 30,000 overnight campers and counselors.
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