Although often a cancer experience can seen as a time of loss loss of hair, loss of strength and agility, and a loss of freedom sometimes, it can be a time of joy and community. Last week, FaCT staff and volunteers took 50 families to the Valley Fair amusement park for dinner, rides, and the priceless opportunity to talk with and share stories people going through similar experiences in a cheerful context.

“We really had a great time and I got a chance to talk with someone who had lung cancer like me”, said one parent. “She was very encouraging and it was so nice to hear her story! I had been ok with my diagnosis until a couple of weeks ago when I got my prognosis. [Since then] I’ve been pretty discouraged and “down”[, but] hearing her story gave me hope.”

The weather was picture-perfect, and many families went to the water park to relax in the wave pool, float in the lazy river, or splash down from the slides. Angel volunteers, including new ones from the Star Tribune, assisted families onto rides and pushed wheelchairs wherever they were needed. “We would just like to thank you and your staff for the Valley Fair event,” wrote another parent. “We truly appreciate all your hard work and dedication to put smiles on the faces of people who are dealing with sadness.”

“My family had a wonderful time,” added another. “I felt a great comfort going to the park with families that are in our same situation, and that we can still have fun despite the chemo that I had last week. It was fun to see my kids laugh and smile like they should.” The laughter of kids and the smiles from our families makes running FaCT events like this one not a duty or a responsibility of work, but a pure joy for everyone involved. We hope to see all our families and more at Kids Kamp and our other ongoing FaCT events!