How a special camp helped an 11-year-old cancer patient regain her childhood
Newman’s Own donates all of its profits and royalties to charity, like the one that helped Amanda Garbatini get her fight back.
Amanda Garbatini scaled an icy mountain in New Hampshire and won a wheelchair marathon at Disney World, but those feats were nothing compared to this next one: This Connecticut native has had cancer eight times — five different types and three relapses.
The first diagnosis came when she was just 11 years old. Her world was turned upside down when she had to trade playing with friends for hospital visits, chemotherapy and surgeries.
“Despair and hopelessness are big words to describe how a little girl feels but that was how it was. Then a social worker said, ‘what you’re going through is really awful, but I have something that might make you feel a little better,’” her mother, Lace Garbatini, recalls.
The social worker told Amanda about The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut, a nonprofit summer camp for kids and families coping with serious illnesses.
“During my first week at Camp, I met a girl my age that had a tumor in her leg just like I did. We shared an instant connection and in that moment I knew I wasn't alone. Meeting other children who have been through similar experiences has a healing power beyond words," Garbatini says.
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was founded by actor Paul Newman and is part of the Serious Fun Children’s Network – a worldwide affiliation of camps and programs for children with life-limiting illnesses. Paul Newman also founded Newman’s Own, and for over 30 years, the food company has given it all away — donating 100% of all profits and royalties to charities.
Newman’s Own has helped support thousands of charitable causes and organizations, with close to half a billion dollars being donated since its founding in 1982. Every time you buy a Newman’s Own product, you start a journey toward improving someone’s life — someone like Amanda Garbatini.
“Coming to camp is an empowering experience because you get a little bit of your childhood back. It gave me my fight back. I really don’t know where my life would be without camp,” Garbatini says.