When Camille was 11 years old, she was so sick on Christmas morning that she didn’t want to eat or open any presents. Two days later, she was admitted to the hospital and started treatment right away for acute myeloid leukemia.
“I spent two weeks in the ICU and another eight months in the hospital after that. One of the worst parts was that I couldn’t see my sister for months because they had such tight restrictions,” said Camille.
“I was only in fifth grade at the time but I knew what kind of day it would be when doctors came into my room, based on their conversations,” she continued. “When you go through something so life-altering as a kid, you grow up too fast.”
When Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteers visited Camille and her family, it gave her the opportunity to be a kid again.
Camille debated between a football game or going to Walt Disney World for her wish, but the reason she ultimately chose Walt Disney World was because of her sister.
“Disney is something we both love, she doesn’t care for football, and after all that time apart I wanted to have a wish that we could all experience together,” Camille said.
The trip included days at Walt Disney World where Camille enjoyed the rides and meeting different characters, and one of her favorite memories was spending time together as a family at SeaWorld.
“We convinced my mom and dad to sit in the splash zone with us and we got absolutely soaked. Immediately after my mom looked into her purse to make sure her snacks were still dry and tucked away in their Ziploc bags. We all laughed so hard!” she said.
After Camille finished her treatments, she was able to go back to school.
“I couldn’t go to PE or play the sports I wanted to, I didn’t even have the lung capacity to play my clarinet anymore, but this trip made me feel like I could be a normal kid again,” said Camille.
Now, an adult, Camille has a son and she is fortunate for life every day.
“My wish was our last family vacation together because we lost my dad in 2001, but looking back, it was the most amazing trip we had together.”
“I wake up every morning and I go to work, kiss my son, and tell my husband I love him. It’s the little moments that matter and I try to make the most of everything I do and don’t ever let it go to waste.”