By Danielle Kutchel
It’s been a long two years since Narre Warren South youngster Jaxon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, with lockdowns compounding the isolation of the cancer treatment journey.
But he and his twin brother Hunter finally had something to look forward to, as participants in an exciting Virtual Camp.
The Zoom event on Sunday 17 October was an initiative of kid’s cancer charity Camp Quality, which has been running virtual counterparts of their much-loved camps for kids facing cancer in lockdown.
Mother Sarah Russell said the last two years have been incredibly tough for the whole family.
Her twin boys had never spent a day apart before Jaxon’s diagnosis.
Jaxon endured a whole year of chemotherapy, she said, most of which Sarah spent with him in hospital.
“Then the pandemic hit and made life even harder,” she added.
Jaxon was only allowed one visitor, so when his dad came to visit, Sarah would meet him in the foyer and he would go to Jaxon’s room alone while Sarah sat in the car with Hunter.
“The boys could only wave to each other from the window in the car park. The hardest part was watching them say goodbye,” Sarah said.
Jaxon is now on maintenance chemotherapy, and at the beginning of the year he and his family had a much-needed break at a Camp Quality Family Camp.
Sarah said the break helped them all to reconnect and gave the boys a chance to just be kids while connecting with others who had been through a similar journey.
But now the family is back in isolation like the rest of Melbourne and Jaxton has five months left of maintenance chemotherapy – so the Virtual Camp was a welcome diversion.
Virtual Camps bring the fun, positivity, and connection of a camp experience online for Camp Quality kids aged 7 -14 and mean kids isolated by cancer because of treatment, location or ongoing health concerns don’t miss out on camp.
In the lead up, Hunter and Jaxon both received big boxes in the mail filled with everything they would need for the camp’s activities, as well as some extra treats to keep the fun going beyond the weekend.
They had a choice of activities to pick from and decided to go with Bingo in the morning and Science with a Twist in the afternoon.
The science activity saw the twins make unicorn noodles – snaking rainbows using simple kitchen ingredients like red cabbage, lemon juice, and bicarb soda.
They also made edible playdough and icecream in a bag.
Sarah said the boys had a blast.
“It’s very important for them to stay connected to people.
“Being diagnosed with cancer you get isolated away from everybody and Covid-19 makes it harder…so something like this is really good.”
To learn more about Camp Quality visit campquality.org.au