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A complete transformation: Niela’s story

7 March 2022

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2022 03 07 Niela Camp Chat2

Superstar camper 11-year-old Niela was disappointed when she heard summer camp wasn’t able to go ahead, however she was excited to hear news of an alternative. Instead of packing up for a week-long adventure, Niela had camp arrive in a box on her doorstep this year. Camp-in-a-Box was a change, for sure, but Camp Quality were determined to still facilitate a week full of fun and activities for kids living with cancer across the country.   

A week of transformation

This is Niela’s third year with us at Camp Quality, having attended her first camp in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region at age nine. Although Niela’s usually a shy and quiet character, Niela’s mum Stacey has been amazed by the undeniable transformation that occurred when Niela began attending summer camps. “She comes home with these wide, bright eyes and she has nothing but excitement – it’s just pure joy!”  

Turning negatives into positives

Niela’s mum Stacey first inquired about Camp Quality on the recommendation of Niela’s coordinator from the Child Cancer Foundation. Struggling with health issues from age three and diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in her ovaries at age six, Stacey’s brave girl Niela has battled through a long and hard health journey. Niela is one of five siblings and was first diagnosed when her youngest brother was just a newborn.  

Stacey describes the early years of Niela’s health struggles, and beyond, as an immensely tough journey with periods of separation and many trips to Starship Hospital in Auckland. It means so much to be able to give Niela opportunities to feel like a normal kid and experience delightful memories, says Stacey; it’s important to have things to look forward to. “Health challenges so often take away schooling, fun with friends and positive experiences outside of hospital walls. With Camp Quality she’s been able to have great memories alongside some of the tougher ones,” Stacey adds.  

Niela 5

Putting worries to ease

Although camp looked different this year, Camp Quality was still able to provide a week of joy and positivity for Niela and other campers in their homes.  

As a parent of a child living with cancer, Stacey struggles to navigate the gravity of recent world events and the effect these are having on her children. “There is so much going on in the world at the moment and they’re big events for anyone to process. When kids are already immunocompromised, it’s extra scary for parents”.  

“Camp Quality is the one absolutely positive experience that Niela always looks forward to. Niela was very protective of her Camp-in-a-Box, patiently waiting for camp week to begin despite the eagerness of her four siblings. She loved all of the activities, especially the baking and colouring in,” Stacey shares.  

Stacey expresses her gratitude for Camp Quality and the joy it brings to Niela, and other kids living with cancer throughout New Zealand. “It’s indescribable – a blessing to everyone involved.”

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