Camp counselor reaches milestone in cancer battle

A counselor at a camp for children fighting cancer was herself diagnosed with the disease, but she has reached an important milestone in her battle.

A counselor at a camp for children fighting cancer was herself diagnosed with the disease, but she has reached an important milestone in her battle. The children at the camp cheered and chanted her name when she returned.

A counselor at a camp for children fighting cancer was herself diagnosed with the disease, but she has reached an important milestone in her battle. The children at the camp cheered and chanted her name when she returned. (8/31/15)

SHELTER ISLAND - A counselor at a camp for children fighting cancer was herself diagnosed with the disease, but she has reached an important milestone in her battle.

As the director of Camp Adventure in Shelter Island, Melissa Firmes-Ray has spent 20 years bringing smiles to the faces of children with cancer. Last September, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

Firmes-Ray needed a stem-cell transplant to survive, and doctors at Stony Brook University launched a global search for a marrow match. On Jan. 7, an anonymous donor fulfilled Firmes-Ray's hope. She received a stem cell transplant thanks to a 21-year-old man who donated his healthy, A-positive blood cells.

Firmes-Ray still faced the possibility that her body would reject the new cells. She fought through extreme fatigue and pain by focusing on a pledge she made to the Camp Adventure children.

It has been seven months since Firmes-Ray's transplant, and tests show she is now in remission.

Last week, she returned to her post as director at the camp, where the children proudly welcomed her back. The children said they couldn't have imagined camp without her.

"It was like a huge milestone that I got here," Firmes-Ray said. "I love them, and I'm very grateful."

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Investigators spent several hours investigating at the scene, 1 26-year-old hospitalized in N. Amityville shooting
News 12's Lily Stolzberg asked shoppers at Iavvarone 2 On the Spot: Famous quotes
Glen Cove's Industrial Development Agency is taking another 3 Eminent domain proceedings begin for 2 Glen Cove properties
Two West Babylon families whose Arnold Avenue house 4 Community response awes families displaced by fire
Holtsville man shot by police faces charges after 5 Holtsville man shot by police faces charges after chase

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

Doctors say Ray needs a bone marrow transplant Mentor to cancer patients diagnosed with leukemia

A woman who has spent years bringing smiles to sick children's faces is fighting her

Camp Adventure is Long Island's only sleepaway camp Summer camp lifts cancer patients' spirits

A Shelter Island camp is lifting the spirits of kids with cancer. Camp Adventure is

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE