Siblings Sharing Special Days at Camp in the Heart of Detroit


Air Date: February 14, 2019

Michigan is home to Special Days Camps, one of the longest running pediatric oncology camps in the world. It’s a unique place where not only do kids with cancer get to be kids, but siblings are also welcomed. An experience that Dawn Cross shared with her brother.

Dawn Rauser Cross: I had a brother diagnosed with Leukemia when he was three and it was my brothers first experience and my mom said he was crying he just wanted to leave with her and a week later when she came back to get him he was hiding in the woods (laughing).

Mitch: Because he didn’t want to come home.

Dawn: He didn’t want to come home (laughing).

Dawn and her brother Michael fell in love with Special Days Camps. It was here that Dawn discovered her passion for nursing and when she is not working at Detroit Children’s she is part of a skilled team of medical professionals at camp – helping to make life long memories for kids with cancer AND their families.

Dawn Rauser Cross When the cancer kids are at camp we hardly ever see them. They don’t want to have anything at all to do with the nurses but the siblings after every meal will be lined up outside the med center because they want that little bit of one on one that full attention on them.

Mitch: I imagine that sometimes they feel like all the attention goes to the sick brother or sister and they feel like they are forgotten.

Dawn: Yeah, yeah absolutely so it’s a connection for them too.

And creating connections is what Special Days Camps is all about.

Dawn Rauser Cross: I understand the siblings I’ve been there I know that it affects them just as much as it affects the person in treatment. Camp is not about having cancer camp is about living with cancer because the kids…

Mitch: And having fun.

Dawn Rauser Cross: Exactly.

Special Days Camps is bringing laughter and joy to kids touched by cancer here in the heart of Detroit. 

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