Last year, the Travelers Championship raised two million dollars for charity. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, founded by Paul Newman, is the main beneficiary of the tournament’s charitable funds.
Tucked away in Ashford, CT, the camp gives kids with cancer and their families a chance to feel safe and secure.
“There’s hope, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” Katie Joiner got that feeling the moment she laid eyes on the Hole In the Wall Gang Camp, and got over the initial fear.
“I was a little nervous cause I didn’t know what to expect,” Joiner said, “but as soon as I got on camp I was like ‘this is not what I was expecting from a camp for seriously ill children’.”
At 11 years old, Katie Joiner had some ankle pain and it turned out she had a tumor that was cancerous. And it eventually led to amputation.
It was a lot to handle for a kid and her family. When Joiner first went to camp, she was already diagnosed with her cancer for 10 months.
“I was sad, I didn’t have a prosthesis…I wanted to walk and I wanted to be a normal kid.” Joiner added, “I got to camp and was like ‘wow I’m a normal kid for these three days.”
And for those three days, Katie and her family did things they couldn’t during her battle with cancer.
Camp CEO Jimmy Canton says he still gets moved by each child’s story.
“This young man said, ‘I’m glad I got cancer cause if I didn’t I couldn’t come have come to this camp’ and that what it does it just flips it on its head,” Canton said.
That was the vision of the camps founder, Paul Newman.
“Kids come to camp scared and unsure, but leave feeling safe and happy and part of new family,” Newman said.
Joiner said she was sad after leaving camp, but she knew it was just the beginning, and she was always going to be a part of the family no matter what happens.
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