SAN DIEGO — It is summer and many kids are off enjoying their summer vacation at camp - including a special camp in Julian that is just for kids whose siblings have or have had cancer.
The Seany Foundation sibling summer camp, Reach for the Sky, is for kids ages eight to 17-years-old who have siblings with cancer.
“This is really fun. At camp you get to be yourself. There are no worries about bugging anyone. It is all about you. You get a chance to shine – it is great,” said Taylor Lionetti.
The week-long camp in the Julian mountains is run by volunteers and is cost free for families.
Asher Bernstein has been attending camp for four years.
“It is great to meet other people who have gone through something similar to what I have gone through,” said Asher.
The camp hosts several bonding activities like camp dance. For camp administrator Robby Medina, “this is life. This is happiness.”
Survivors say cancer affects everyone in the family.
Robby, who goes by the camp name ‘Yoda’ is a cancer survivor and started going to the Seany Foundation's summer camps as a child and is now the camp administrator.
“They find resiliency – lifelong bods. It is very easy to get hooked and keep coming back year after year,” he said.
It is a lifelong bond that started more than three decades ago when Medina met camp volunteer Alan Hughes, better known as Hoss.
Hoss survived lymphoma and was one of the first kids at camp in 1983.
“They gave me things I was not getting so I was a cancer survivor and I was not big going to hospital meetings, but camp was a place where you could go and be yourself,” he said.
It is also a place where siblings feel the same beat without worry about cancer.
“I absolutely love this camp. It is 100% amazing,” said Taylor.
The Seany Foundation’s camp ends on Saturday but there is another camp next week with patients and their siblings.