On the corner of Broadway and Union, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, sits an old brick building with a red door, and four stately white columns in front. Magic happens in this building.
This building is the home of Gilda’s Club Seattle, and Camp Sparkle.
When Gilda Radner was diagnosed with cancer, she learned first hand how lonely cancer can be. Gilda’s Club was created so no one else would have to go through the cancer experience alone.
Gilda’s Club is not just for the cancer patient, but their family members and close friends as well. A cancer diagnosis impacts the whole family. We all need a place where we can be ourselves, and it feels good to have a place where we feel normal, where others understand what we are going through. Gilda’s Club does this with support groups, lectures, and other helpful events for people with cancer and their loved ones.
Camp Sparkle is one of the ways that Gilda’s Club helps the children of cancer patients.
Sometimes, the world turns upside down when Mom or Dad is diagnosed with cancer, or even dies from cancer. This is complicated when adults reflexively avoid conversations about cancer, life and death, or deep issues are distilled into platitudes that are more dismissive than helpful.
Camp Sparkle provides a safe environment for kids to talk about cancer, and helps provide kids with a toolbox of skills to name and discuss their feelings and to deal with this and other challenges life will throw at them.
And Camp Sparkle is FUN!
My girl turned 5 a few months ago, so this year she was old enough to go to Camp Sparkle. She had so much fun. She came home with piles of artwork each day of the week, and at the end of the week she brought home a journal. She went on a field trip every day. She made new friends, learned about compassion, and respect, and self care. And I am so impressed with the questions she’s been asking since camp. Thoughtful questions about things it never occurred to me to bring up with her.
She’s a happy camper, and I’m so glad she got to go to Camp Sparkle.
Gilda’s Club has clubhouses across the country, and Camp Sparkle is free for the children of all Gilda’s Club members, ages 5-18.
You can find more on the How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting Series here: