Making light of every situation – Lennox’s story
At just 3 years old, Lennox’s cancer journey began when Renee noticed a strange grey glow in their eye. Initially brushing it off as a light reflection, Renee tried to disregard it but her mother’s intuition told her to dig deeper. Renee searched the internet and took a few photos of Lennox’s eyes with the flash on to see if they both reflected red, like normal eyes. They didn’t.
The GP referred Lennox to an eye clinic, where again, Renee’s intuition told her to push for an early appointment. That appointment revealed more anomalies in Lennox’s right eye and the Raglan-based family were quickly referred up to Auckland Eye Clinic and oncology within two days. Lennox was put under general anaesthetic for a lumbar puncture and further examination of their eye – this confirmed Retinoblastoma. Cancer in their right eye. The treatment for this involved removing Lennox’s eye and putting a prosthesis in its place. Thankfully, the cancer was contained to the eye and Lennox didn’t need any further treatment.
Lennox quickly returned to preschool and their new “normal” life with one eye. There were a few stares and lots of questions, but as Renee had been determined to normalise this for Lennox, they were able to answer any questions with very straightforward, matter of fact answers – which was pretty incredible for someone so young!
At just 5 years old, Lennox went on their first Camp Quality camp - and they’ve been every year since, missing only one due to illness. Camp Quality became a home away from home for Lennox, somewhere safe and accepting with a huge amount of ongoing support.
“Being around other kids who got it and didn’t need to ask lots of questions was so cool,” says Lennox. Lennox has been through several gender transitions and felt accepted and loved at every stage with Camp Quality, something that both Lennox and Renee truly appreciate.
One of the things that Lennox loves about Camp Quality is the bus rides. “Usually bus rides are so boring. But Camp Quality make them so much fun! We have games and songs, and it’s like another fun activity on the way to a fun activity!” And the activities themselves were varied and plentiful, and entirely dependent on the camper “Camp Quality understand that one thing won’t work for every camper, so they make sure there are options. They make space for every camper and make ever camper happy”
No one ever wishes for cancer, but a very young Lennox said to their mum “I’m almost kinda happy that I had cancer Mum, because I get to go on Camp Quality camps.”
Camp Quality has our fair share of incredibly resilient campers. Those like Lennox have plenty to teach us about making light of every situation. To help us continue to provide a safe haven for campers like Lennox find out how you can donate to Camp Quality here.