Andrew W.K. on Clarity | VICE
Earlier this year, I was contacted by a youth organization in Wisconsin called One Step. The group operates a summer camp for young people with cancer, where campers can spend time with other patients their age, as well as survivors of the disease, and experience beautiful Lake Michigan.
I said yes instantly, but I was nervous. How would I be able to face these young people dealing with challenges that I’d never faced? I assumed I was being brought in as an entertainer to help cheer up these young patients—some as young as 5 years old—and offer them some sort of boost. Little did I know, these brave young people were going to teach me more than I ever dreamed.
I had gotten it all backwards. The gentleman who invited me to the camp eventually explained that every summer he invites someone to the camp to be a student, not to be a teacher or to offer their presence to the young people there. Instead, I’d learn about strength and resilience through these courageous cancer patients, experience their power and incredible energy.
I was absolutely overwhelmed, devastated and uplifted by the camp experience. It’s difficult for me to even write about it now, the feelings come in such waves of intensity. These young children taught me many lessons, the most important of which I try to keep in sharp focus daily.