PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- This week, dozens of children who have overcome cancer are joining together for a STEM-focused summer camp.
This is the second year that local non-profit Children's Cancer Network is hosting this unique event. The brave cancer survivors have to live a new normal once they are declared cancer-free, and the camp is designed to bring kids who love math and science together, so they can build camaraderie with fellow survivors, as well as stimulate their minds.
First, the kids are building their own laser tag arena with stratum laser tag. And then, it was game time for the participants. Each year, more than 15,000 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. The good news is more than 80% survive, like Grace Richerson, who has been cancer-free for six years.
"I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to," said Grace, who attends the 7th grade.
Children's Cancer Network is a local non-profit based in Chandler. Sharon Wozny, a program specialist with the organization, said they are dedicated to helping Arizona families deal with childhood cancer by providing services that range from building self-esteem, deal with stressful times, finances, scholarships, and cool events like the summer camp.
"They had a blast. Asked if they can do another game. Building and designing, they didn't realize that they were really learning and engineering and doing math and making their structures strong enough and wide enough and deep enough and tall enough. Learning was going on in disguise," said Wozny.
7th grader Kelly Fleming has a message for others who are battling cancer.
"You should never give up in any circumstance," said Kelly.
All week, these kids can look forward to fun, learning games, helping them move on from their cancer journey and look forward to their dreams.
Childhood Cancer Foundation with Children's Cancer Network