When six-month-old Kalani was diagnosed with brain cancer, her family’s “entire world shattered”.
Rather than growing up playing with her beloved siblings, Kalani’s life became consumed by radiation treatments, surgeries, needles and sickness.
And it wasn’t just Kalani’s life that cancer upended. It also took a huge toll on her brother Kallen, 8, and sister Khaleesi, 4, who had time with their adored baby sister taken from them.
They also lost out on vital time with their mum, Charlene, who was constantly needed at the hospital by Kalani’s side. The family, explains Charlene, became “split in two” by the tragic diagnosis.
"Kalani and I were in hospital for most of her two years of treatment. Her sister and brother were effectively denied a mother in their lives. Our family was split in two – we lived separate lives.”
So, when Charlene received an invitation to attend a free Camp Quality Family Camp in the snow – she leapt at the chance.
Charlene knew her family desperately needed a reprieve from the dark reality they were living.
It turned out their family trip was a timely one. Soon after they returned home, doctors discovered Kalani’s cancer was spreading rapidly. Sadly, it was also incurable.
“It felt like someone had ripped out my heart and stomped on it,” says Charlene. “They said my baby was dying, and there was nothing I could do about it. There was no other hope – no other treatment.”
Just several weeks later, on Charlene’s birthday, her beautiful child died in her arms. Kalani was only two years old.
Camp Quality was there to help ease their pain, with the support of our generous donors. Kalani’s grief-stricken family was given the opportunity to spend time together on a Camp Quality Retreat. It was a chance to come together as a family and honour the sweet little girl they had loved and lost.
“Losing Kalani was very traumatic; very overwhelming,” says Charlene. “But the happy memories that Camp Quality gave our family were a huge relief psychologically. That’s what I hold close to my heart.”
Now more than ever, Camp Quality needs the support of Australians to continue helping kids and families like Kalani’s. It is with your generosity that these families can create precious memories while they are dealing with the fear and heartbreak of cancer.
Sign up to Trek today to give families experiencing cancer some much-needed quality time together on one of our Family Camps and Retreats.
You have the power to help these families find some light in the darkest period of their lives.