Hi My name is Penny aka “Weins”. I live in NY and teach Adaptive Physical Education at a school in the Bronx (NY Board of Education). I love Teaching, Coaching, Sports, Hiking, road trips, Broadway shows, Disco & R&B, the Beach and of course Camp Bravehearts! I also love running and have ran in 15 NYC Marathons to date!
In 1998 I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast Cancer. I read about Camp Bravehearts on the back of the NCAA Newspaper, grabbed some women from my support group and signed us all up for camp in 2002, and haven’t left since. In 2008 I became part of the volunteer Braveheart Staff. I believe in Sharing and giving back. Pay it forward! Camp had given me my life back after cancer and I am and will always be grateful for Bravehearts. It has been a blessing and an honor to be a camper and now a staff member. If I had to choose a song as my “theme” song, it would be “Now and Forever” by Carole King.
I look forward to each and every camp and getting to know all of the campers.
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase"
Martin Luther King
Hi, my name is Terri Swatko and I'm from Dallas, Pa. I have been a corporate trainer most of my life and have worked in telecommunications for the last 16 years. I love to cook and travel with the love of my life, my husband, Mark. I also love water and the beach.
I was diagnosed with the beginning of Stage 4 breast cancer 2 weeks before Christmas 1998. I made plans with everyone for that to be my last Christmas with them. Doctors told me the year of chemo and radiation I was about to endure probably wouldn't work for me, and I'd need a bone marrow transplant. To keep my mind off of all of that, I worked full time and went to graduate school on the weekends during my year of treatment. I was determined to survive, no matter what!
I attended a support group at my oncologist's office and always sat next to Lori Walsh, 1 of the original founders of Bravehearts. She talked me into attending the first camp. My life was changed forever after that. As the song goes that we play at many camps..." because I knew you, I have been changed for good..." I was thrilled and honored when I was asked to be a staff member the following year. I vowed that if I survived, I would do everything I could to help others with cancer. I became a board member for the American Cancer Society, and a Reach to Recover volunteer. I thank God every day for being alive and being so blessed to be a part of this truly amazing sisterhood!
Hi, My name is Karen Haag, also known as “Coachie”. I co-founded Camp Bravehearts in 2001.
I have two siblings, and five nieces and nephews. I live in Albany NY with Stacey. We have no children but do have two rescue Pit Furbabies, Lucy and Nipper! I am the Women’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at Saint Rose College and I previously worked at Wilkes University in PA. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and fitness.
Bravehearts fills my spare time and the Growth of this sisterhood has been phenomenal to witness. The power of love is amazing! The volunteer team are some of the best people on the planet and they inspire me every day with their generous spirit.
What have I “received” from my involvement with Bravehearts? Love, It’s all about Love!
“You are stronger than you think you are.”
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there lived in me an invincible summer” Albert Camus
Hi, my name is Donna, but my family and childhood friends call me Dawn. I've been married to my wonderful, supportive husband for over 25 years. We have four amazing children and my beautiful niece who we are raising. Their ages range from 12-25 years old. We recently adopted my eldest son’s Black lab/Doberman mix who just celebrated his first birthday. So we have a fairly active household. I love running, reading and spending time with my family at the beach.
I previously worked as a Customer service agent for US Airways, where I met my husband. After 18 years decided to follow my lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. I have been working in Oncology Nursing for most of my 13 years in the field.
I was first introduced to Camp Bravehearts by my dear friend Denise. She invited me to join her as a volunteer nurse for a camp that was specifically centered around newly diagnosed women. I have been volunteering ever since. Camp Bravehearts is truly an awe inspiring group of women.
One of my vivid memories happened at Camp Kresge "a truly rustic experience" I can remember watching women in their 70's descending from the woods with backpacks, mastering the not so predictable terrain; another occurred at Double H Camp in the Adirondacks where I watched my 80-year-old clinical trials patient (camper) take a ride down the zip line as I stood there thinking what am I going to tell her children if this doesn't go well (lol). Simply Amazing is all I can say.
It's in moments like these that you realize you can accomplish anything when surrounded by the love and support these amazing women provide.
My name is Sherry Huzar but Karen Haag calls me Sarge. I was born and raised in Scotia NY and still reside in a nearby town. I love upstate NY. I have been married to to my high school sweetheart for 38 years and we have two beautiful and amazing daughters.
I worked in the retail field with Kmart from 1974 until my stores closing in 2006. Enjoyed it but happy being retired.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 when I was 45 years old. I knew that there were retreat programs and I was determined to find one. I came across Camp Bravehearts purely by accident in 2003 and attending my first camp that fall at Camp Kresge in White Haven PA, I completely fell in love with the concept and the ladies I met there. It was just what I needed. I kept coming back. You build such wonderful friendships at Camp Bravehearts.
In 2008 I was asked to join the staff and it has been a labor of love for me ever since. Camp provides women with an opportunity to have fun, try new things, spend a weekend with women who have been on the same journey and let there hair down and just have a great time.
Camp re-energizes me, being with the ladies and watching them try things they would have never dream of fills my heart with joy and happiness. I am blessed to have met all of the campers and be part of the "Sisterhood" that we call Bravehearts.
"I am at the foothills of my life and I have mountains left to climb" Be brave!!!
My name is Tina Orner, but I am also know as "Betty Boop".
I was raised in Springbrook Township, Pa and currently still maintain the homestead. I have a son, Bill, a Penn State Graduate and could not be prouder of him. My partner of more than 18 years is Donnie Knight.
I retired from Tobyhanna Army Depot as an electronics mechanic leader in 2013 and currently work part time for Macys.
I was diagnosed in 2001 with breast cancer at the age of 45. I am one of the original campers. I found out about Camp Bravehearts from That Special Woman, in Kingston, Pa. which is owned by our very own Eva Ofcharsky Simpson, when looking for my wig. A few years later, I was privileged to be asked to join the Staff.
I love what I do for our campers, it gives me the opportunity to give back for all that was done for me in the past. Words just cannot describe the love and support that our "sisters" have for each other.
It is an honor to be part of this wonderful, all volunteer, Staff.
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