The pandemic didn’t stop these Hawaii kids with cancer from enjoying summer camp

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – In the midst of COVID, a free annual camp for youth living with cancer went on without a hitch.

Last July, about 25 young people visited Camp Anuenue. It gave them the chance to put their health problems on hold.

“It gives them a little more hope and positivity,” said camp doctor Dr Desiree Medeiros.

The week-long outing at Camp Mokuleia attracts children and teens. This year the camp was held under strict guidelines.

“We had to make a lot of accommodations to make the camp safe for these children whose immune systems are weak, to avoid exposure to COVID,” Medeiros said.

The 40 volunteers and employees have been vaccinated. The campers were tested. And everyone wore masks except when they were eating, sleeping or swimming.

“Anyone who had symptoms, even if they were COVID negative, cough, runny nose or fever, were not allowed to come to the camp,” Medeiros said.

The campers were in their own bubble.

“I think the numbers went up outside in Hawaii, but we managed to keep ourselves safe from camp that week,” Medeiros said.

The children played games, sang songs and communicated in real time. It was different from last year when the camp was held online.

This year, the young people really wanted to be together face-to-face.

“For me personally, it means you can connect with people more easily because they understand what you’ve been through,” said 12-year-old Jayden Silander.

One of the best things about Camp Anuenue is that everyone shares a common bond.

“The majority of the staff are former campers,” Medeiros said. “Even the two camp directors are both cancer survivors.”

This was Silander’s first camp. He has bone cancer, but that was the furthest thing on his mind when he was strumming.

“It felt great,” he said.

Camp Anuenue will be back next year, hopefully under the cloud of COVID. But even if it isn’t, the organizers know what to expect.

“Now we know that it is possible. So I hope we can do it next year,” Medeiros said.

For more information about Camp Anuenue, visit

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