Marilyn Boone, Youth Group Leader

The first time I heard the name Robert Hampson,was at a Sunday morning church service. Our minister told us of a young boy who lived in the Toronto area who wanted to help children with disabilities by saving pop tabs, cashing them in and getting wheelchairs for the kids who could not afford to buy them. I thought to myself, how much more meaningful it is when a young child has a plan to do something that is going to be a lot of work!

Our minister then proceeded to tell us of Robert’s disabilities. At the age of 4, he had surgery for a brain tumor, which left him blind. Of course my next thought was, does this great kid not have enough going on with himself, that he is putting his illness aside, to STILL think of someone else? Wow! What a special child of God this Robert Hampson has to be.

We had a Youth Forum at Loon Bay Camp and Rev. Steph invited Robert to come as a guest speaker for our “Survivor” theme weekend. Robert’s story was definitely one of survival! Upon meeting this young boy I immediately had to smile because you see Robert does that to anyone who is so privileged to have met him. I didn’t feel pity for him because I looked at Robert as someone who really had so much more to offer and I looked at what he did have!

I saw a boy who wanted to join in and do just what the other kids were doing with the biggest smile always. Robert let the other kids lead him around the obstacle courses we had laid out which showed tremendous courage to rely on someone other than his family. He showed no fear of anything and wanted no special treatment! His laughter and willingness to just join in was truly amazing.

We had boxes of pop tabs there to present to him and I can still see him with this big smile and sifting through the tabs with his hands as if it were gold! I know inside his head he had visions of wheelchairs. Can you imagine a young boy having those kinds of visions? Not MP3’s, not X boxes, or gameboys but wheelchairs! Pretty amazing.

This young boy made the kids who were there feel so fortunate for their lives and the things they had. His story of moving on and dealing with his cancer was so inspirational. He has too much to do to be getting depressed over his disabilities. Robert is still battling his illness today and is undergoing some aggressive radiation and chemo treatments. He still jokes about himself and makes it so much easier for people like us who are healthy to talk to him. What would I ever have to complain about when I know this courageous, inspirational, upbeat young man? No one knows how long a life is but Robert Hampson has definitely changed my life since I have known him. Just a young man, and I am truly grateful to have met him.

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