We Can Have Hope Camp Helping Families Thrive
The emotional weight of a child’s brain tumor diagnosis is too much for a family to shoulder on their own, especially for those who are faced with the unthinkable loss of their child.
“The diagnosis of my 5-year-old girl with a brain tumor shook our world. The whirlwind of surgeries, treatments, infections, recurrences are too much for a family to bear,” writes Gary Painter in sharing his family’s perspective of “Why I Thrive.” for Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Painter (pictured with his family) is a parent leader in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s California Chapter.
“Fortunately, we had family, friends, church, and the California Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. PBTF-California, then known as We Can, came alongside us at the hospital to share information and emotional support. More importantly, they connected us to other parents who shared this journey and others whose children were no longer in active treatment.”
“However, our journey didn’t end with the diagnosis or treatment. Our daughter died after 16 months of fighting with all her strength and with grace. Now what? Our networks of family, friends, and church were there, but so many people did not understand.”
Painter and his wife Patty began working with the chapter to develop resources for families who had lost a child to a brain tumor.
“At that time, PBTF-California did not have a program for bereaved families, but there were many of us. Over the next three years, PBTF-California worked hard to develop a camp and a bereavement program so that families who had lost a child could help other families. Parents helping parents. Siblings helping siblings.”
We Can Have Hope Camp, April 21-23
While each family’s journey is different, the PBTF partners with families to help them heal and thrive. The PBTF-California Chapter’s most recent We Can Have Hope Camp hosted 21 families who had lost a child to a brain tumor.
Thanks to support from the Joseph and Fiora Stone Foundation, the Spanish- and English-language camp provided attendees with break-out sessions that equipped them with tools for their journey of grief. It also provided quality family time with activities such as archery, fishing and an evening campfire.
“Learning to walk through grief together in a healing community has been essential in helping our family move forward while loving and remembering our little girl who is no long with us,” says Painter who was among the attendees.
The We Can Have Hope Camp is one of many ways the PBTF is expanding how we care for families. If you know or are a pediatric brain tumor family in need of support, we invite you to fill out our family profile form or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our free services, programs and upcoming events.