Taking a Break

From Mom’s Cancer

Virtua’s Camp Oasis Gives the Fletcher Twins a Rare Gift:
Someone Who Understands

Jennifer Fletcher is battling cancer that is treatable but not curable.

It started in her breast in 2012. She has endured more than 70 rounds of chemotherapy, 37 rounds of radiation, surgery to remove her ovaries, and a double mastectomy, but the cancer remains.

“I was actually getting ready to ring the bell signifying my last round of radiation when the doctor called to say it was in my brain,” said Jennifer, who receives treatment at Virtua’s Cancer Program.

It is also in her hip, liver and a vertebra.

Needless to say, Jennifer is tough. It’s easy to detect bravery in her voice when she talks about her prognosis. Only when the conversation turns to her sons, 10-year-old twins Colin and Drew, does Jennifer’s strength begin to crack.

“The boys don’t always vocalize how they feel about my cancer, but when they do, its anger. But, they see I am fighting,” she says.

Jennifer tries to keep the lines of communication open, but boys that age don’t say much. The Fletchers attend family therapy to help them cope. They also lean on support programs offered at Virtua. For them, the most important is Virtua’s Camp Oasis.

This one-day getaway for children of cancer patients is organized by Virtua’s oncology nurse navigators who see the impact cancer has on families every day.

Camp Oasis is fully funded by gifts made to Virtua Foundation, and all children attend for free. It doesn’t matter if their mothers or fathers are treated at Virtua or elsewhere – the camp is open to all families from Camden, Burlington or Gloucester counties.

“Parents with cancer don’t typically have the money to take our kids away for the weekend,” says Jennifer. “If you want your child to go away for the day, have a good time, make some new friends and just have a day off where there are no doctor appointments, no illness, no naps, no mom being tired — this is perfect.”

At camp, Jennifer’s boys go zip lining, swimming, kayaking and play silly games. They also meet others who share their fears and can open up about cancer in a way they don’t at home. Colin and Drew have attended Camp Oasis for the past three years and enjoy seeing kids they’ve met before, even though that means their parent still has cancer, too.

“It’s important for them to be around kids who understand,” says Jennifer. “It’s a way that they can say what they want to say and not feel like they are hurting my feelings.”

Learn more about Camp Oasis here: WATCH VIDEO

Support Camp Oasis on #GivingTuesday

On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, families, businesses, community organizations, charities and students around the world will come together for a common purpose: To provide funds where the need is great. This December 1, your gift to Virtua Foundation will help send 100 local children to Virtua’s 2016 Camp Oasis.

Click here to send a child to Camp Oasis.
Follow us on Facebook for news about our #GivingTuesday and how to join in.


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