Camp Enchantment gets back to in-person fun for children with cancer

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many children who have cancer have to give up activities and sports that they love while in treatment. But, one New Mexico summer camp is giving them the chance to just be kids again – and this year they are back in-person.

Rowen Jackson Foster and Ahnikah Hudson are both experiencing Camp Enchantment for the first time.

“Camp Enchantment feels like connecting with people who know what you have been through, because it can feel really isolating,” Jackson-Foster said.

Both of these girls were recently diagnosed with cancer, and are currently going through treatment like chemo and radiation.

“Its hard because you get a lot weaker in the hospital and when I first came out of the hospital I couldn’t jump, and that was something that was something that was scary cause I went from running to just barely walking,” Hudson explained.

But out here at camp – they get to be kids again.

“I did the obstacle course yesterday and that was really fun,” Jackson-Foster said.

“I did the swing which is like a giant pendulum it was really fun and high ropes” Hudson added. “There is a bunch of other stuff like the water slide and there are horses, and there is archery.”  

Hudson and Jackson-Foster went back and forth listing their favorite activities.

For the last two years, Camp Enchantment has been virtual to keep the children safe during the pandemic. But, this year the board thought it was time to bring children back to the great outdoors.

“The decision process was very long and tedious we wanted to ensure the absolute safety for all the kids all the staff, so we wanted to make sure everything was good,” Programing Director Jay Sheraden said.

So far, so good!

“I’ve done R.C. cars and archery, I’ve done a zip line, a big swing,” Camper Adam Jimenez chimed in.

But Camp Enchantment does more than get kids out of a hospital for a week, it also gives them a community.

“It’s been relieving because I can’t really talk about it with my family they don’t always get it. So having this opportunity to talk about it with other kids it’s like a huge weight off my chest,” Jimenez explained.

Even though the week is only halfway over some can’t wait to come back next summer.

“I’ve been told by many campers in the harder times they have had with their treatment knowing that camp was coming the following summer was what kept them going,” Sheraden said.

“This has been a fun week plus this was my first sleep away camp and it’s been a great experience for sure,” Jackson-Foster said

“We can’t usually plan our futures but I’m pretty sure I will be coming back,” Hudson added.

Camp Enchantment is free to all campers and is run with the help of medically-trained volunteers and donations.

If you want to help out these campers, visit Camp Enchantment’s website for more information on how to donate.