From dance floor to oncology floor

Name: Camille
Age at diagnosis: 11 years
Diagnosis: Osteosarcoma
How Family Reach helped: Grant to help cover utilities and car payments

In January 2013, 11-year-old Camille was an award-winning Irish step dancer enjoying 5th grade when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right leg. In a matter of weeks, she went from a dance floor to an oncology floor.

Camille has endured limb salvage surgery, many months in a wheelchair, and intense chemotherapy, followed by lung surgery. “Chemo is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Camille. “The surgeries are very, very hard.” As the medical procedures increased, the bills began to pile up and Camille’s single mother, Colleen, didn’t know where to turn for help. “I was told by the social worker that one parent has to give up their job,” she said. “And in my situation, I was the only income for my household. There were times when I had to make decisions: Do I pay the electric bill or did I go grocery shopping?” A friend told her about Family Reach and she spoke to the social worker at Dana-Farber. Family Reach was able to provide grants for heat, electricity, and car payments, as well as offer assistance at the holidays. Colleen said, “What Family Reach did was take a very tangible stress that was on my plate and remove it.”

Despite difficult procedures and financial strain, Camille and Colleen, along with Camille’s 2 sisters, have maintained a positive attitude. The support from Family Reach has helped them remain afloat through very challenging times. Deeply moved by this generosity and support, Colleen stated simply, “Your help is our gift.”

Last update: August 1, 2014