From ages 5 to 18, with personalities and interest as varied as they come, our campers share two things in common: they have serious illnesses, and incredible spirits. They are the reason Flying Horse Farms exists, and the inspiration for everything we do.

EMILY

Spend five minutes with ten-year-old Emily and her ever-widening circle of friends at camp, and it’s unmistakably clear: this girl has won the heart of Flying Horse Farms—by wearing her heart on her sleeve.

She’s a hugger. A giggler. And, for the last 8 years, a survivor of cancer.

At age 2, Emily was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer, a solid tumor cancer of the nervous system. Her 5-by-6-inch tumor grew out of an adrenal gland—attaching itself to her kidney and liver, and wrapping around all five major arteries. After years of treatment, the cancer returned—this time below Emily’s heart. Her experience in and out of hospitals was grueling: 19 surgeries, hundreds of blood transfusions, and years of radiation and chemo.

Then, on a joyful day in 2007, Emily was pronounced NED—No Evidence of Disease. She quickly got back to a regular 6-year-old’s life: going to school, playing softball, and growing a full head of blonde hair. But in 2010, a bad headache and back pain led doctors to discover Emily had relapsed again.

“I was sad the cancer came back,” says Emily. “But I’ve beaten it before. And I can do it again.”

Since then, Emily has undergone more aggressive treatments. Amidst these challenges, she’s also experienced the magic of camp for the first time—through the Flying Horse Away program at Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, and during Flying Horse Farm’s opening weekend.

“The best thing about camp is meeting other kids like me,” says Emily. “I have tons of friends here. My wish is that they will all feel as happy and free as I do when I’m here.”

As long as Emily’s at camp, it’s a good bet her wish will come true. She’s never short on happy—and those around her can’t help but feel the same way too.