29 Aug Virtual Ronald McDonald Camp, Maura’s Story
Since 1986, Ronald McDonald Camp (RMC) has provided a weeklong overnight camp experience in the Pocono Mountains for children with cancer and their siblings. In 2020, Virtual RMC was created to keep the magic of camp alive during the pandemic. Now in its fourth year, Virtual RMC continues to provide access to camp for children whose health won’t allow them to attend in person. This year, 24 children logged on every day during the week of July 9 to enjoy a full schedule of fun and engaging activities, whether they were in a hospital bed, the Ronald McDonald House, or the comfort of their own home. Each camper signed up for the daily activities that interested them and received a custom shipment of materials to use during those activities. One of those campers, 15-year-old Maura, has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer for two years. She came to the House recently to stay for three weeks so she could receive 20 rounds of hyperbaric treatment. Her first week of treatment coincided with Virtual RMC. Maura’s mom, Andrea, said she is so grateful that Virtual RMC was able to provide some joy to her daughter during such a chaotic and frightening time. Maura started the week of Camp at her home, then logged on from a hospital treatment room, and finished out the week at the Ronald McDonald House.
“I get chills talking about it because it was so amazing,” Andrea shared. “They made sure that all of the materials were delivered to the right place. They had a box of things—including a guitar—delivered to our home. She had signed up for a cookie decorating class, and they made sure those supplies were delivered here to the Ronald McDonald House. Then during pretzel-making, Maura was able to cook right here in the kitchen at the House. They made it so easy and wonderful! In the middle of all of these crazy kind of scary things we had going on, it was such a fun thing for her to look forward to.”
Maura said her favorite part of camp was getting the chance to learn to play the guitar, and she’s so grateful for the guitar that she was given by Virtual RMC to keep. She loved camp so much that she’s encouraging a friend she met during radiation to sign up with her next year. “I’m going to nag her to do it together,” Maura said. “It’s really, really fun!”