PORTLAND -- It’s summer camp season and Camp Ukandu is back in session for the 27th year.
“The kids with cancer want to survive so they came up with the name 'Ukandu' because we can do it,” explained 12-year-old Emily.
More than 100 cancer patients and their siblings are at Camp Collins free of charge.
“It costs us about $1,100 for each camper but they don’t pay anything because all of our donations come directly back to the camp,” said camp director Hillary Orr.
The kids represent all stages of the disease. Some have beat cancer, others were recently diagnosed.
“The biggest piece is to get them away from the treatments and the hospitals and have a week of fun with other kids who know exactly what they’re going through,” said volunteer counselor Tricia Hieb.
Emily, who goes by the camp name of Goldilocks, had a large tumor removed from her back and now has a metal rod to help her stand.
“I’m okay,” she said. “I can walk now and I can even get all the way up the climbing wall over there.”
The staff includes a doctor and nurses but they can be seen playing games as much as giving treatments.
“Many campers will leave here and go back to the hospital for more treatment but they’ll be rejuvenated and feel better about the future,” said Orr.
Emily is feeling optimistic about her future having beat cancer and mastering the climbing wall.
“I succeeded,” she said flashing a smile.