"Camryn's dream was to see bears and orcas up close. And with that, the beginning of Camryn's wish trip to Alaska began."
Days that were once filled with playdates, laughter, and joy, became days filled with worry and fear. On the evening of April 12, 2016, Blake and Natalie got the news that no parent should ever have to hear… ‘Your baby has cancer.’ At just 2 years old, Camryn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. "Our world, as we knew it, fell apart. And as I sat there, sobbing uncontrollably, fearing that I may lose my child, Camryn simply turns to me, wipes away my tears and tells me not to cry,” said Natalie.
Camryn remained strong, even throughout the many life-threatening complications she faced, including an infection that spread throughout her entire body, and, because of the chemo, a very close call of septic shock. Camryn is currently in remission but is not cured by any means. She will continue her treatments until July 13th to be sure the leukemia does not come back. “Only then will our family begin to truly pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and move on. The countdown is on!” Natalie said.
Not being able to go to school and play with her friends is what Camryn misses most. Her mom tells us she’s very social and loves to be outdoors surrounded by nature. And, like most kids her age, she loves animals. During a special trip to Sea World, Shamu stole Camryn’s heart. Since then, she has become fascinated with orcas. When she told her Wish Granters her wish, it was no surprise to anyone.
“Camryn excitedly told them that she wished to see Orcas and Grizzly bears in the wild! And with that, the beginning of Camryn’s wish trip to Alaska began.” – Camryn’s mom, Natalie.
Their adventure started with a behind the scenes tour of the Alaska Wildlife Conservatory Center where not only did Camryn see a Grizzly bear, she actually fed one! This was only the first of many surprises, but the highlight of the trip was the day they boarded the sight-seeing cruise to go in search of orcas. The captain warned them that they may not see any orcas as the sightings were few and far between that year. Natalie tried to prepare the kids so they wouldn’t be too disappointed if they didn’t get to see any orcas.
Turns out, that wasn’t necessary. As they cruised closer to one of the glaciers, the captain pointed to something in the distance and it was coming right towards them… it was a mama orca and her two babies! The whales swam right over to the boat where Camryn could see them up close and personal in their natural habitat. They ended up seeing 12 more orcas that day…more than had been spotted all summer! “To us, the whales knew it was Camryn’s wish and they made sure to be there for her that day. I don’t know if anything can ever top that special memory for us,” Natalie told us. She continued, “We laughed more in those four days than we had in the past year. It was exactly what we needed to recharge and lift our spirits so we could finish fighting this terrible disease.”
“Going to Alaska for Camryn’s wish was definitely a defining moment for us in this cancer journey. It was a turning point, a game changer, and a chance for us to close the book on all the sad times and look towards the future…and hope again.” – Natalie