In June of 2011 Isaac Parris was a fun-loving, regular 5 year old. He had just finished kindergarten and was looking forward to an entire summer of playing outside with his sister and neighborhood friends, riding his bike, swimming in their pools and making up games to occupy the warm summer days. When he suddenly started complaining about severe headaches I brought him to his pediatrician the very next day.
On June 22, after nine days and various doctor’s appointments, a CT scan revealed our greatest fear, he had a mass in his brain. Two days later, Isaac underwent brain surgery and pathology showed that Isaac had Medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain cancer. Instead of playing outside, riding his bike and generally being a carefree child, his summer would now consist of daily radiation treatments, which required him to be placed under anesthesia each time.
Today after enduring 30 cranial and spinal proton radiation treatments and 9 rounds of chemotherapy, Isaac is still cancer-free, but he is faced with many challenging side effects. Isaac’s life will forever be impacted. COFC is our way to give back to the cancer community for all of the love and support that we received during Isaac’s journey.
HOW CAMP OUT FROM CANCER BEGAN…
On June 21, 2013, Isaac and our family went back to his hospital, for what had now become a tradition, to say thank you to the doctors and nurses who treated him on his anniversary weekend. That year Isaac with our help decided to make several care packages to give to some of the kids who were at the hospital.
Ironically, since Isaac was a minor he was no longer allowed to enter the pediatric oncology wing. Luckily the child life specialist found a family that was willing to meet us in the waiting room. Out walked a little girl with a mask on her face and her IV pole in tow. We introduced ourselves and gave her a care package. During the next few minutes, we found out that her name was Sydney and she was 5 years old. She had just been diagnosed with leukemia and had not yet been told by her family that she had cancer.
Isaac, who has a very quiet disposition, talked with Sydney and tried to help her feel better. She had told him that she didn’t like her newly placed port and Isaac told her that he hated his too and then reassured her before long it would be gone as he showed her his scar of all that was left. We gave our best wishes and Sydney was heading back to her room.
After just a few minutes, the child life specialist came out to the waiting room and showed us pictures of beautiful Sydney in her room already “camping out” in her tent. It was at that very moment, CAMP OUT FROM CANCER was created.
– April Schippers
(Isaac’s Mom and Founder of COFC)