Transcending the Chaos of Cancer
May 21, 2018 – Deborah A. Boyle, M.S.N., RN, AOCNS, FAAN, Advanced Oncology Nursing Resources, Huntington Beach, California
Oncology: The Only Choice
May 22, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
Nursing Through the Prism of Childhood
May 27, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
Nurturing Patients and Nurses
June 02, 2018 – Amita Patel, NP-C, AOCNP, Regional Cancer Care Associates
An Oncology Pioneer
June 03, 2018 – Fred Hardwicke, M.D., Childress Regional Medical Center Cancer Clinic, Childress, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock
Currently Viewing
Camping for Health
June 02, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
In the Hands of an Angel
June 10, 2018 – Jitsuda Sitthi-Amorn, M.D., St. Jude Children
The Day That Snow Brought Sunshine
June 17, 2018 – Patricia Jakel, M.N., RN, AOCN, Solid Tumor Program, UCLA, Santa Monica
Monday Morning Musings
June 20, 2018 – Justin Baker, M.D., St. Jude Children
Kathy Youngblood, Private Investigator
June 30, 2018 – Patricia Cathey, M.S.N., RN, NE-BC, St. Jude Children
Something Told Her to Become a Nurse
July 01, 2018 – Marilyn K. Stade
This Oncology Nurse Gives Back What She Receives
July 07, 2018 – Debbie Talley
The Oncology Nurse Is an Inspiration and an Example
July 08, 2018 – Marilyn K. Stade
Extraordinary Empathy in the World of Oncology
July 16, 2018 – Andrea Valera, RN, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
How One Oncology Nurse Exhibits the Best of Humanity
July 22, 2018 – Jacquelyn Pryor, Ph.D.
Pairing Diligence With Compassion in Cancer Care
July 21, 2018 – Margot Goodman
A Shining Star in Oncology Nursing
July 22, 2018 – Charles Turano
Compassion and Kind Ways in Oncology Nursing
July 26, 2018 – Edith Holder
Giving Is in Her DNA
July 29, 2018 – Deborah Dion
By My Side Through Cancer Treatments
July 27, 2018 – Malinda Blackshaw, RN
The Oncology Nurse Who Radiates Pink
July 28, 2018 – Eleanor K. Waldrup
Always a Step Ahead as an Oncology Nurse
August 04, 2018 – James G. Coe, Ph.D.
This Oncology Nurse Is Not Just Any Superhero
August 05, 2018 – Keitha V. Johnson
When Compassionate Cancer Care Meets Imagination
August 11, 2018 – Daniela Maniscalchi
An Anchor in a Time of Tumult
August 12, 2018 – Lillian Arleque, Ed.D.
From Devastation to Inspiration
August 18, 2018 – Wendy Tucker
Master of the Medical Matrix
August 19, 2018 – Linda McCarthy

Camping for Health

BY Kathy LaTour
PUBLISHED June 02, 2018
Jackie Miller was eight years into her career when she was tapped to join other handpicked nurses to staff a new unit dedicated to oncology. That was 22 years ago.

“We had identified that we needed this, and it was a core group who were known for helping cancer patients,” Miller recalls. Because the nurses were all at different skill levels, they also helped each other.

Today, Miller manages the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program that provides health screenings for uninsured residents of Burlington and Camden counties. Overseen by her employer, Virtua Health System, the program operates using state money and grant funding secured through Miller’s efforts. “We have different avenues for different diagnoses, but in most cases, we can provide Medicaid in 24 hours,” she says.

Miller is recognized as someone who can solve a problem when she sees it, which is how Camp Oasis, created for the children of southern New Jersey residents diagnosed with cancer, came about. When Miller’s sister-in-law died from breast cancer a number of years ago, leaving behind a son, the family tried in vain to find support for the boy. “We were at Christmas dinner after she passed away, and we said, ‘This is crazy that there are no resources for families with small children,’” Miller recalls.

Miller envisioned a camp for kids like her nephew, and the idea snowballed. When the Oncology Nursing Society took applications for a special grants project, Miller applied for the funds to create her camp. After she won the grant, she found that her colleagues were poised to get behind her and volunteered to lend a hand. Then, as she began to put the idea into practice, she discovered that the whole community wanted to help.

“When I tried to get space, they ended up donating it. Then, when I went to buy food, they donated it,” she says.

Camp Oasis, which now operates through the Virtua Foundation, provides a magical day for approximately 50 participants. The campers, aged 8 to 18, get picked up in the morning by limousine (a nurse rides along, just in case) and receive a bandanna. After the opening ceremony, the campers are divided into five groups based on bandanna color.

The children take part in all kinds of activities, including sports, crafts and a group meeting with social workers who can help the campers open up about their fears. “The social workers are trained in this area to help the children talk to their mom or dad about what is happening,” Miller says.

Last year, a winter camp was added and offered five indoor sessions, including playtime with oversized Legos, theater improvisation and activities at the camp’s indoor waterpark.

At the end of the day, each camper leaves with a folder for his or her parents that offers information about support groups and provides the phone number for a crisis hotline in case of emotional trouble.

“They are not alone,” Miller says of the children. “By the time they are in the limos going home, the kids are texting each other and getting phone numbers.”
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