Editor’s Note: Camp KEMO, led by Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, offers a summer camp experience for children with cancer and blood disorders. This year’s Camp KEMO is Monday, June 13 through Saturday, June 18, at River Oaks Retreat, 180 Youth Camp Rd., Honea Path, S.C. Media are invited to visit the camp any time during the week. Please let us know if you are planning on visiting the camp so we can alert organizers.
At the age of 8, Owen Plasman of Florence was diagnosed with high-grade metastatic osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Owen began experiencing pain and developed a limp after sparring practice at Tae Kwon Do and playing soccer. As time went on, Owen’s parents, Gillian and Paul Plasman, noticed a lump on his right leg above his knee. After seeing a pediatrician and further testing, Gillian and Paul were informed that the lump may be cancer.
“Our life halted on the day of the diagnosis. We felt like we were living someone else’s life, it was surreal for a very long time,” said Gillian.
In January of 2013, Owen began chemotherapy treatments in an effort to kill the cancer. During this time, Owen and his family looked to the Lord to bring healing and strength. In April of 2013, Owen underwent limb salvage surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. His bone was then replaced with an expandable prosthetic implant.
After his limb salvage surgery, Owen gradually learned to walk again while he still underwent chemotherapy. In November of 2014, Owen’s cancer spread to his lung again after his previous surgery in 2013. This time, Owen’s lower lobe of his right lung needed to be removed.
Currently, 12-year-old Owen has his leg lengthened every four to six weeks, which will continue until he is fully grown. He also has CT scans of his lungs every three months to check for recurrence of where the cancer spread. This will continue until he reaches two years with no evidence of the disease.
“What I remember most about our time at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is the love, care and support our entire family received from the doctors and the nurses,” said Gillian.
In his free time, Owen loves to hang out with his friends. He also enjoys playing basketball, baseball and football. Owen attends Southside Middle School and his favorite subject is math. He owns an old English bulldog named Leddy, who was named after his orthopedic oncologist. Currently, Owen has narrowed his choices for his future career down to being an orthopedic oncologist, physical therapist, pastor, singer and/or actor.
Owen was given the go ahead to return to normal activity just in time to attend Camp KEMO. In a week, he will join hundreds of other pediatric patients from the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and their siblings at Camp KEMO, a weeklong summer camp for patients with cancer, ages 5–18 and their siblings. Staffed by our physicians, nurses and volunteers, Camp KEMO allows campers to swim, boat, hike and simply be children. Camp KEMO is completely funded by community donations.
This year, Camp KEMO will run from Monday, June 13 through Saturday, June 18. The fun times at Camp KEMO lay important groundwork for future treatment as participants learn to trust, respect and relate to one another. For more information about Camp KEMO or to make a donation, visit campsite.palmettohealth.org.