Teen Lake Escape offers camp for cancer patients

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Nellie and Taylor have become fast friends. They met at this week’s Sunshine kids camp on Lake Travis, where 20 children ages 12 to 18 are fighting the same enemy: Cancer.

“I had a tumor the size of my surgeons fist,” Nellie said. “And, it spread to my lungs also so I had a radiation treatment.”

They trade tough stories and give each other strength.

“It’s just refreshing to meet someone that understands what you’ve gone through,” 18-year-old Taylor explained, “And can relate and know what you mean when you say how sick you are of hospitals and how you love your nurses”.

This year marks the 24th year for “Teen Lake Escape” where children in different stages of cancer wind down and enjoy entertainment provided by Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

“It gives them the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate,” Jennifer Wisler with Sunshine Kids Foundation said. “And it lets them set their priorities straight and get ready for their next battle.”

Thousands of children have attended this camp over the years. Some Sunshine Kids alumni have even come back to volunteer.

“When I tell them, ‘hey I’m a cancer survivor and I was treated at this exact same hospital they look at me differently,'”  Leigh Anna Hutchison, a volunteer nurse and former sunshine kid, said. “And now I’m one of their friends instead of the nurse that has to give them shots or chemotherapy”.

These young patients say it helps to have friends who really understand what you’re going through.

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