My name is Jim Myers and I am so grateful for the opportunity provided to me by the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation. I am 27 years old and have had two operations, radiation and chemotherapy to treat brain cancer. I was selected to participate in the “Epic Experience” camp in Denver, CO but I did not have the financial means to travel there. I reached out to CHSCF and received a travel scholarship to attend the camp; it changed my life.
I had never participated in any sort of “cancer camp” or even a support group because not that many 27-year olds have brain cancer. However, when I arrived at camp, I found what I had been looking for. I was surrounded by adults and young adults who were battling the same frustrations and fears as myself. We quickly bonded, shared our stories and began healing and laughing about what we have in common. I was so nervous to attend, and even more nervous to participate and be vulnerable in front of people I had never met. I am so grateful that I had this experience and pushed myself to share my story and begin the healing that I have needed.
Truly, I had no expectations of what my camp was going to be like. I knew it was going to be “EPIC” so I was ready to participate in any activities they had for us. I was amazed by my fellow campers throughout the week. It was incredible to see so many people, who have battled through so much, turn their attention to fun activities and forget about their current struggles. I am supposed to keep my favorite part a secret; but I really enjoyed snowshoeing on top of a mountain as the sun set. My attitude on life was changed by my time at Epic Experience. I was able to share my challenges and relate to the struggles of other young adults my age. My roommate, Adam, was the first young male with cancer I had ever met.
My journey through life and cancer has been difficult just like everyone else’s. I have been told so many times to find support groups or get out and travel. Unfortunately, I had no local options and no financial means to “go explore.” My favorite part of the camp was sharing my journey, listening to others and leaving with a legitimate support system and network. This was my first ever “camp” or experience with a cancer organization. I will be forever grateful to Epic Experience and Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation.
My advice to anyone thinking about trying a camp or new experience: “do it.” I was nervous too; I flew by myself and arrived a stranger. I left with 11 close friends and people who understood who I am at a deeper level than most people in my life. This trip was funny, challenging, awakening and much needed. Thanks again to everyone who helped me go and I hope that someone else gets this opportunity in the future.
This blog originally appeared at Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation