A Message from the Lander Family

At Roundup River Ranch, Family Camp provides families with a weekend retreat where they can escape their daily worries and immerse themselves in relaxation, recreation, and quality time together. Camp is filled with memorable moments, such as first fish caught at Fishing and first bullseyes at Archery. But, for the Lander Family, a magical musical moment at camp provided them a chance to experience the simple joys of childhood.

“Thank you so much for an amazing Family Camp weekend at Roundup River Ranch! This was our family’s first visit to the campsite, and it is one we will always remember. I wanted to share one of a million special moments that happened during our time there. When our daughter was first hospitalized in February 2021, I remember our days being filled with fear, the unknown, and loss. One morning a music therapist stopped by our hospital room and brought a cadre of instruments with him. Our then four-year-old picked a rainbow xylophone to accompany his guitar and singing. When he placed the xylophone on her hospital bed, it was the perfect height for our daughter’s tiny frame. Over the prior days of her hospitalization, I had felt the huge impact of our daughter’s loss of her childhood, her health, and her energy so quickly.

She went from climbing monkey bars and family dance parties to a child who had to be bribed and cajoled to do a few laps around the oncology floor twice a day. This tidal wave of loss compounded our fear of what was to come. But, when she picked up the xylophone mallet and began striking the keys as Michael sang along, our daughter had a smile on her face. I quickly grabbed my phone and still have the 17 second video of her singing and wiggling her hips – a precious sign that my husband and watched time and time again in the coming weeks with the hope that the girl we loved would not be lost along her way to health.

Two and a half years later, my daughter was up early Saturday morning during Family Camp and wanted to visit Lilly’s Sound Garden before breakfast. She wanted to try and see everything at camp in the precious time we had. We pulled open the gate of the sound garden and she immediately raced up to the outdoor instruments. Once again, I saw her pick up the mallet of a rainbow xylophone as she started banging out, “Oh my darling, Clementine.” The smile on her face was matched by my own as her notes dried up into the air and I breathed in the beauty of the morning mountains. We are now on the other side of all the tests, procedures, side effects, and fear that comes with a childhood cancer diagnosis. We have found a place where our daughter and our family can choose our challenges rather than having them handed to us. We have found a place where we can continue to heal and move forward whether it’s through music, archery, crafting, or simply basking in the gloriousness of seeing our daughter enjoy childhood.”

Thank you,
Katharine, Camper Mom

  1. I remember the moment you guys pulled into camp (after a recent cross-country trek??) and immediately noticed how you settled in with open hearts and wide open eyes. I, too, loved that weekend.
    Thank you Katharine and Lander family for sharing your journey.

    Very sincerely,
    :)Nurse Lizzie

    P.S. Your family skit was EPPP-ICCC!
    P.P.S. Round Up River Ranch is magic.

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