Kristin Patterson Inspires Campers – People Helping People Series

Friday, July 14 at 07:15 PM
Category: Arvest Community News

“My motivation is simple. It’s those kids and those smiles,” Kristin Patterson said.

As co-director of Camp Quality Ozarks, Kristin has one purpose: to let kids be kids, even when they have cancer.

“When you undergo cancer as a child, you grow up very fast. You are entered into the adult world whether you want to or not,” Kristin said. “You lose your hair, you may have scars, but here it doesn’t matter, you’re just a kid. You’re just like the others.”

And just like any kid, those who come to Camp Quality Ozarks want to spend their week having typical summer fun.

“We play basketball, soccer, we have fishing, swimming, yoga, CrossFit, and also a really awesome bike park that they get to play on,” Kristin said.

Bethany is one of the campers that knows Kristin. “Camp Quality is a lot like a home away from home. It really helps you to be like your inner self,” Bethany said. “So people aren’t judging you for what you do or who you’re acting like or whatever.”

Tabitha is another teen participating in Camp Quality. “It’s inspired me to be more of myself and get to know others a lot more. And not let what I’m scared of get in the way of what I know I should and can do,” Tabitha said. 

As a child, Kristin experienced the difficulties of cancer and understands what these kids are going through.

“This is my 20th year here at Camp Quality. Eight of those years was as a camper. I was diagnosed with AML leukemia at the age of 10, and went through treatment,” Kristin said. “My sister gave me a bone marrow transplant and I’m very blessed to still be here today.”

Tabitha said she’s able to relate to Kristin more because of their similar experiences. “After going through the same things, it’s a lot easier to bond with her.”

“Kristen is like the big sister I’ve never had,” Tabitha said. 

According to Bethany, she knows she can rely on Kristin for help. “If you just need … somebody to have a shoulder to cry on, she’s there,” Bethany said. “She might start crying with you, but she’ll definitely help with whatever you’re going through.”

It can be a challenging job, but it’s always rewarding, according to Kristin.

“It’s knowing that they’re getting to come here and enjoy themselves. Knowing that they’re making friendships that they can carry on. And also that they’re making friendships [with others who] they have something in common with and they’re able to talk to each other about it.”

“But to see those smiles and to see them playing and having fun is the biggest blessing that I could ever have,” Kristin said. 

Watch* Kristin in action. 

Kristin’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, People Helping People
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