Tears were streaming down Logan Johnson's cheeks when her mother arrived at Loon Lake Friday to pick up the 15-year-old Maple Ridge teen and her eight-year-old brother Brody.
The siblings had just completed another "remarkable" week of fun and friendship at Camp Goodtimes. And Logan definitely didn't want to leave.
She didn't want to say goodbye to all the friends and staff she'd come to know and care about at Camp Goodtimes since she first attended in 2006.
She didn't want to graduate from the family program, even though she knew she'd be back later this summer for another week with the teen program, and returning again next year with the leaders-in-training program.
Bottom line, it's the best week of her year. It's a time that she waits for anxiously and actually starts packing for weeks ahead.
"It allows her a lot of freedoms to do a lot of things that normal kids can_ There, she's not the different kid because she has health issues," explained her mother Jennifer.
"She's not separated or alienated in anyway_ It's been a very great experience."
Camp Goodtimes is a recreational retreat for hundreds of B.C. and Yukon children living with cancer.
Started by the Canadian Cancer Society 27 years ago, the camp has grown in size and programs for the children and their families.
Eight years ago, the camp was relocated from the Sunshine Coast to Logan's backyard. It's now tucked away in the backwoods of the UBC Research Forest - north of Dewdney Trunk Road along the easterly edge of Maple Ridge.
The location is convenient for Logan and Brody, who live just a few miles away - as the crow flies - in the Silver Ridge area.
Returning home Friday, Jennifer commented on the "tremendous transformation" this camp has had on her kids, especially her daughter who was dragged - almost kicking and screaming - to her first camp the summer after she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
"We thought it would be good for her to spend time with other kids [living with cancer] who understand what she's going through and for her to get away from the treatments," Jennifer said, befor calling the decision they made six years ago as one of the best ever.
Logan might not have been keen to go. And neither was Brody, when he started attending last year. But both kids have grown to love the experience.
This camp is not like any other, Jennifer insisted. It's special, and it's been a "blessing" to her family.
It not only provides Logan a safe but fun atmosphere to frolic and play with children who understand the turmoil of living with cancer. It also gives her a chance to bond with her eight-year-old brother. Brody was just a baby when Logan was diagnosed, and subsequently excluded from so much when his big sis was sick in hospital or requiring care.
The annual camp has also provides a much need respite for their parents - Jennifer and Jared Lay.
"It's Camp Goodtimes for the parents when the kids are away, too," said Mom, noting that she and Jared escaped last week to the Okanagan for a few days of rest and much needed relaxation.
"You don't really get a lot of time to yourselves when you have a child with health issues. To know that she's up there with the doctors and nurses_ it gives us a bit of a chance to regroup, recharge our batteries. It's a respite for Mom and Dad."
Logan was diagnosed just after her eighth birthday.
She was experiencing a lot of dizzy spells and nausea. But it wasn't until she suffered a seizure and temporary loss of sight that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Despite 18 months of chemotherapy, the tumor metastasised, spreading to other parts of her brain and spine.
Four major brain surgeries, 150 chemo treatments, and 31 full brain and spine radiation treatments later - a total of six years of treatment - Logan is currently classified as "stable."
Admittedly, however, her health is anything but normal. She's now struggling with the side effects of all the chemo that are wreaking havoc with her major organs.
She attends school as much as her health allows, set to go into Grade 10 this fall at Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam - near where she used to live.
This camp, Mom said, has been a "blessing" for their family.
Camp Goodtimes (www.campgoodtimes.org) is run at Loon Lake, which is not only used for this camp but also open to groups of all types (youth to corporate) for meetings, retreats, and conferences (www.loonlake.ubc.ca).