Teen battling cancer gets his own camp experience

Written on July 19, 2017

By Allison M. Roberts Staff Writer  Jun 30, 2017 at 10:19 PM


Tron Foster has battled bone cancer since he was 6 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from doing the things he loves most — including fishing.

For the past 10 years, Foster, 15, has attended Camp Victory at Optimist Acres in Spartanburg. The camp, sponsored by the Children’s Security Blanket, gives children fighting cancer the opportunity to just be kids for a week, said camp co-founder Tom Russell.

Foster will be missing camp this year because the cancer he’s battled for most of his life has now affected his right leg. His mother, Ashley Garner, said her son’s leg will have to be amputated just above the knee.

When Russell found out Foster couldn’t attend camp this year, he decided to surprise the teen and host a special two-day camp just for him.

“That was like being hit in the head with a sledgehammer,” Russell said of finding out Foster wouldn’t be at camp. “I said, ‘Let’s take Tron to camp.’ That ran through my head first. I went home and prayed over it and said, ‘We’re going to have camp for this boy.”

For two days — Thursday and Friday — Foster, his siblings and some of his friends took over Camp Victory. An avid fisherman, Foster spent most of Thursday at the camp’s pond. The rain Friday delayed his start, but he was back on the dock with his fishing pole as soon as there was a break in the weather.

As he was sitting there with his fishing pole resting beneath his chair, watching the line as it rested on top of the water, Foster said he felt his rod jerk a little and noticed the line moving.

“I’m sitting in the chair and I saw my rod almost go in the water,” Foster said. “I picked it up, held it in the air, and it felt like I hooked a brick. The fish jumped and I freaked out.”

With some help from Russell and a few of his friends, Foster reeled in a 6-pound largemouth bass from the pond.

“It’s been great having fun with my family and friends,” Foster said. “And I just caught my new biggest fish. It’s like a dream come true. I’m speechless.”

Garner said she was thankful Foster had the opportunity to enjoy camp.

“We were very excited because it shows the love that the Children’s Security Blanket has for our family,” Garner said. “Just to let Tron know how special he is. For him to miss this year, it was a bit depressing for him in addition to what we’re fixing to go through. It was a priceless moment to see him excited and see that smile on his face.”

Garner said preparing for the amputation takes some work. There are state Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations their home must meet, and Garner has to take steps now to get Foster a prosthesis before his surgery.

After the surgery, they’ll be in Charleston for up to three months. Foster will spend a month in the hospital, after which he’ll go to a rehab facility within 12 miles of the hospital, Garner said.

Foster and his family have been working with the Children’s Security Blanket for the past 10 years. Garner said the group has helped her family with many things, and also made sure Foster’s siblings are included.

“They’re family. It’s like a blanket and we’re just wrapped in love,” Garner said. “No matter what time of day or night, I can pick up the phone and call Laura (Allen) and Tom, and they’ll answer. If we have to go to Charleston unexpectedly, they’re asking, ‘What do you need? What can we do?’”

Camp Victory will host one more event for Foster before he heads to Charleston. Garner has put together a large party that is doubling as a benefit for the family.

On July 29, Foster’s friends, family and extended family from Camp Victory and the Children’s Security Blanket will get together for a day of fun, food and fishing.

Garner said the event, which will be held from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is open to the public and she’s already received a number of donated items. She’s still taking food and drink donations, and encourages people to come by that day.

For more information on the event, including how to donate, contact Garner at [email protected]

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