Camp Ramah Sasson Launches Inaugural Family Weekend for Pediatric Oncology

Last weekend (April 12-14) Ramah New England had the privilege to host 8 remarkable families who are facing the challenges of pediatric cancer in Ramah Sasson’s inaugural Shabbaton. The participants came from all over the Northeast and Maryland, and it was fully staffed by dedicated and loving volunteers. The weekend included a joyous Shabbat celebration, lots of crafts, family fun, separate camper and adult time, and supportive programming.

One participant shared – “After only a matter of hours children and parents of different families had created lasting bonds. All members of the family were included and there was not a focus on which family member had brought us to camp for the weekend because a cancer diagnosis affects the whole family.” – Cecily

As the weekend progressed, we learned more and more about each other and the journeys of each individual and family. One young participant shared the power music played in her treatment and recovery. She and her parents created a routine around Matisyahu’s song “One Day” which speaks of hope for a brighter future.  Before her leg amputation surgery, she and her mom wrote a new verse and then wrote another when she completed her treatments. She sang this incredible song at our talent show to a room full of support, love and tears. Here are her remarkable words:

Sometimes I lay, under the sun
And I thank God I’m feelin’
See I don’t know why I’m the one
But if there is a reason
It’s cuz the world around me knows
That the strength inside me grows
And while there’s always highs and lows
I got what it takes
I’m not alone on these roads because

All my life I’ve been waitin’ for
I’ve been prayin’ for
For the people to say
Kindness is what matters more
We’ll fight this cancer war
And always find time to play
One day, one day, one day, oh
One day, one day, one day, oh

And now I lay under the sky
And I thank God I’m healin’
Taking steps to jump then fly
Right here and now is freeing
Gonna leave the shots and fear behind
Gonna take time to unwind
Climb every rock wall I find
Gotta challenge myself I’m gonna focus my mind

Cuz all these months I’ve been fighting for
And now I’m thankful for
Each and every new day
Count, breathe, squeeze and feel my core
I’m swimming from the shore
And I’m finding my way

One day, One day, one day,
Todah, today, today

At our wrap up activity, the families were asked to encircle their family crests (that they made in the opening activity on Friday) in a border of words or images that captured their feelings, emotions and experiences from the Shabbaton.  The word that kept repeating was “loved.” They felt loved by the staff and by extension their Jewish community! This was our goal – to let these families know our community embraces them and are not alone.

This was only the beginning of Camp Ramah Sasson. We have two weekends scheduled for next year:

  • November 1-3, 2024 – Family Weekend for Bereaved Children
  • April 25-27, 2025 – Family Weekend for Pediatric Oncology

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