This is the story of Libby:

Candlelighters has been a part of Libby's life ever since she can remember.

At birth, doctors discovered Libby had a left kidney mass that needed to be surgically removed. The rare kidney tumor caused intra-uterine hypertension leading to her premature birth. She had four courses of chemotherapy the first four and a half months of her life and she was left with just one kidney.

“I knew kids were at risk for later term cognitive effects due to chemo. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how she was impacted, so we did a lot of development therapies and programs as a toddler to help compensate for what the chemotherapy may have done,” said Sue, mother of Libby. “We worked to catch up on her developmental milestones. I did all the things I thought could help. I don’t know if any of the interventions we did helped - but they certainly didn’t hurt.”

“She has scars,” says Sue. “When she was really little, we told her the scar on her belly was there because we had to take the bump out. As she got older we used language like ‘tumor’ and ‘cancer. It was only in Middle School that she was able to developmentally understand she is a cancer survivor and what that means.

Libby is a Junior in High School now and is starting to look at colleges. “I’d really like to study Creative writing and would be interested in going to a school somewhere where there are different seasons,” said Libby.

Candlelighters has always been a part of Libby’s life as much because of her mother’s profession as for her own diagnosis. The organization has played an important role in helping her understand what she went through as an infant because she has no memory of her cancer treatments.

“I started going to Camp Firefly when I was 7 and absolutely loved it!” shared Libby, “My favorite thing about camp is meeting new friends and doing things I haven’t done before.”

When asked about her favorite thing about Candlelighters, Libby said, “I really love being a part of Teen Scene because it’s kids my age and we become like a family. Having friends who talk about their cancer journeys helps me understand some of what I must have gone through as a baby.”

“I started volunteering at Candlelighters in Middle School for National Junior Honor Society service hours. I’ve continued volunteering there and will continue to do so. I really love being at Candlelighters, it feels like home there. I feel like I’ll always come back to Candlelighters no matter where I am in my life because they have always been there for me.”

Candlelighters is lucky to not only be made up of a devoted staff and volunteers, but some of our very own survivors, siblings, and parents as well! Thank you for all that you do to continue to make Candlelighters a home-like place for our families, Libby.