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By Stacia Wagner
Monday, December 20, 2010
This year CBTF held the first Teen Heads Up Conference for teenage brain tumor survivors. One goal of the conference was to build a peer support community. Being a teenager brings its own challenges related to friendships, dating, and starting to become independent. When you are a brain tumor survivor, those challenges can be even larger.
The Heads Up Conference allowed the group to grow a peer support community which extended beyond the camp grounds. They provided community outreach to senior citizens, children and at a homeless shelter. While the adults observed these bonds, the following words of a participant showed how strong the community bonds were.
One teen survivor utilized the experience and her extreme creativity to create a story for school in the form of a Canterbury Tale. Reading this helps others understand the importance of community.
Thanks Victoria for sharing your talent and emotion with us
I woke up at five and drove to the airport
Some of the kids I met there, still had a mediport.
The kids were so friendly and nice
I only said goodbye to my parents twice.
There was Mark, Jeremiah, Laura, Alli and I
Alli knew who I was already, it was a surprise.
Our destination was Camp Mak-A-Dream in Montana,
After the experience, we were all a big fan of.
We arrive in Missoula with counselors greeting us,
To get to Camp Mak-a-Dream, we took a big blue bus.
Our cell phone use was restricted,
Running and walking on the grass was not permitted.
If we broke any of the rules we had to do the squirrely dance,
We weren’t happy about all the rules, but we decided to give this place a chance.
I looked around at all we could do,
Could we do everything, who knew?
When I met Alli, I knew from the start
That Alli and I would never be apart.
We both did the rock climbing wall,
If you looked down, it was a big fall.
Alli and I both love cranapple juice and we had a fit
Because we couldn’t believe the plane had it.
Alli was a vegetarian and a red head,
Eleven o’clock was curfew, so we had to go to bed.
Alli and I are twins, people got us confused with one another,
Little did we know, we also had a twin brother.
Mark and I both had medullablastoma
His cologne gave off quite the aroma.
We worked together in the art barn,
I made him a white and gray bracelet out of yarn.
Mark is very tall,
Whenever we are together, we always have a ball.
We both went to the Watson Children Center,
Mark was my favorite mentor.
Mark and I both had short hair called fuzz,
Another person I met was…
Jeremiah so sweet and kind
We both went to Montana not knowing what we would find.
Our cookie group was the bees knees,
I asked him to be Goldilocks, I begged him “please.”
Jeremiah was Baby Bear,
Not a lot of us had a full head of hair.
In archery, he shot over thirty balloons,
That’s a lot more than anyone I presume.
We both played the game mafia when we were there,
Did we accuse each other? Did we dare?
Laura is one who loves a good hoedown,
At Camp, there was a cat and a hound.
She did everything on the ropes course,
At the end of camp, she was full of remorse.
Laura was in the drumming group,
She fell asleep on her drum. It was a hoot.
Laura loves oreo cookies,
She is not at all like the girl on the Jersey Shore, Snookie.
Laura and I were both in the Mission cabin,
By the end of the week, we were both draggin’.
There was also a boy named Trevor
He could talk himself out of anything, he was very clever.
Amanda was in Mission Cabin with me
It took us a while to do a puzzle from Toy Story 3.
There are a few people I did not mention
Leaving them out was not my intention
I did the ropes course too,
At one point, when I was up there, I thought I was going to lose my shoe.
I did the zip line with Kyra and Morgan,
In the rec room there was a piano, but no organ.
Alli and I made plates and bowls with the pottery wheel,
We had a clay fight, we both gave out a squeal.
I gave bracelets to everyone that wanted one,
I owned at ping pong, Rosalie said, “Yea get some!”
On the last night, I went in the pool,
When I got out, it was really cool.
In the short four days we became friends quick,
Not once did I ever feel homesick.
I loved everyone I met,
Whatever I would talk about they would get.
Because we all had brain tumors we shared something the same,
I don’t think we ever forgot another’s pain or name.
Then again, our name was on the button,
We all customized our own with a little somethin’.
A bunch of us did the Butte Hike together,
Our experience at Camp Mak-A-Dream is something we’ll cherish forever.
Every night we had camp fire sing-a-longs,
We are all survivors, we are all strong.
The last night, I went to bed at one and had to get up at four,
It also didn’t help that my bed was by the door.
There are a few people I did not mention
Leaving them out was not my intention
Going to Montana this summer is something I will never regret,
Because of all the great friends and memories, it is an experience I will never forget.

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