[For those who don't know, NCA means not camp appropriate]
It was July of 2007 and I had just arrive at the Calgary airport, fresh off the plane from Toronto, excited to get to Camp Horizon Ostomy camp for the second time. There he was, waiting for me. I was one of 4 campers on his list to pick up.
I saw him, ran up to him, and said, “Hey Shane! Remember me?”
It had been 3 years since I had been to camp.
“I want to say yes…” he replied, and then made one of his signature silly faces.
He didn’t recognize me.
We had been emailing on and off over those three years, but I had changed dramatically since my first time at camp; I had lost about 25 pounds, grew about 6 inches, and matured 3 years. It’s amazing what having ostomy surgery and getting healthy will do for you.
Eventually he realized who I was and we reunited with a great warm hug.
That week of ostomy camp with Shane had been just as fun and memorable as the week three years prior. It was meaningful, exciting, and of course with him, absolutely hilarious. Shane had been volunteering at camp for years after his run as a camper in the 90s had come to an end. He lived and breathed camp Horizon and all that it stood for. He had gotten so much love and support from ostomy camp that he had always felt he owed it to the camp to give it right back.
You can imagine how thrilled I was to have the opportunity to volunteer with him this past summer alongside his years of experience and his passion for the camp. Again, that week of camp was filled with love and support and a whole bunch of ridiculous events.
This past summer’s week of ostomy camp ended with myself, Shane, and his best friend and another volunteer Jason hanging out in the airport waiting for our flights back home to our various destinations. We were only really just sitting at a table in the fast food area joking and laughing but I think it was one of the most memorable times I’ve had from ostomy camp.
This past November I had spoken for an ostomy event in BC with Pat, the coordinator for camp Horizon ostomy camp. After I spoke, she stood up, did a little speech, and played an old recording of a news report from the 90s all about camp. I watched the video go into what camp was all about and how important it was to campers when all of a sudden Shane’s teenage face popped up. I burst out laughing. He looked so small and silly and all I could think about was seeing him at camp the next summer and teasing him in person about how adorable he was.
Little did I know that his silly jokes in the airport terminal restaurant were the last jokes I would ever hear come out of his mouth.
Last night, Shane passed away from a stroke.
He was only 31, and 18 at heart.
I really didn’t know how to go about writing this blog. I figured throwing in some quick summaries of what he meant to me was good, but it really does not even begin to describe the passionate, strong, and funny person he was. I know a lot of people who knew and loved him are going to read this and have their own memories to share and I wish I could write them all down and really share to everyone how amazing he really was.
Though I only really spent time with Shane for a week here and there, I felt like he was a major part of my life. Shane not only gave me support and hope in terms of my ostomy, but gave me a great friendship from our conversations over email, MSN, or Facebook chat. These conversations would usually be about absolutely nothing but we would just talk all the time. Talk about camp, talk about video games, talk about school, or the fact that he had been telling me for years that he was going to come visit me in Ontario…
He had actually told me at camp this summer that he was planning to come to Ontario and promised he would visit me…
As I said, there is no way I can summarize Shane into a blog post, and those who knew him as well can attest to that. He was just very special person.
Shane, I will really really miss you <3