The Amazing Story of Camp Quality’s Founder – Vera Entwistle
Poppy smiles again!
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She enjoys making friends, loves to dance, and when Poppy starts smiling and laughing, look out, she doesn’t stop – even when her cheeks get sore. That’s what happened when she met Camp Quality Puppet, Ariel.
Poppy’s big sister, Mika, had pain on and off in her legs for 14 months. The doctors kept saying it was from sport. But then she was finally diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. Ten gruelling months of chemotherapy began, during which time Mika nearly lost her leg, was in a wheelchair, and had to learn to walk again. For Poppy, who was only six years old, it was a terrifying time.
Poppy’s mum, Amelia, explains,
“The illness, the uncertainty and the isolation were really, really traumatic. It was during COVID, pretty much from one Sydney lockdown to the next. So Mika was completely isolated from all her friends and family. Prior to that, Poppy and I had been inseparable. So she suddenly was without me during a really stressful time. That was really, really hard on her. Even now, if I have to go away for work, she gets really upset and starts talking about, ‘I don’t think I can do this again.’
“One of our biggest challenges during the treatment was that Poppy, and Poppy’s peers who were so young, didn’t understand about cancer and the changes that were happening to Mika. That made it all so terrifying.”
Poppy has since been on a Family Camp where she could reconnect and make happy memories with her family and laugh again. She also attended a Mini Camp where she was able to make new friends who understood about cancer – and dance at a Space Disco!
Best of all, now that COVID restrictions have eased, the Camp Quality Puppets can finally visit Poppy’s school, with our Cancer Education Program, to teach her friends about what happened to Mika. This makes school a more inclusive place for any child facing their own cancer diagnosis or the diagnosis of a sibling or parent, and helps reduce bullying, mental health issues and absenteeism.