THREE decades on, and after thinking it would just be a "one-off gig, Orange-based doctor David Howe continues his volunteer work with children battling cancer, and - amidst many tears while reminiscing about the last 30 years - says he'd "do it all over again".
"It's a privilege and an opportunity to be in a position where you're given that much in return for what would seem like very little effort," Dr Howe said.
"It's luck ... its lucky to be in that position and I suppose [back in 1992] I was just in the right place at the right time - and I would do it all over again."
Camp Quality, a not-for-profit organisation, is currently ranked one of Australia's highest ranking children's charities, with camps run by volunteers and medical professionals each donating their time.
Firm believers in laughter being the best medicine, the program's organisers provide stints of activities for children and family members, who are dealing with cancer diagnoses, the chance to look forward to something outside of the 'clinical world' - where being prodded in hospital is a frequent familiarity.
"The thing about camp quality is that we're the fun part, we get to be the positive experience - whereas the doctors at hospital are the ones who poke the needles in and give all the horrible tests and give all the horrible news," Dr Howe said.
"Camp Quality keeps all those things in mind, but what do you say to a child who has cancer - you've got this problem and that problem? They know what their life is, so we get to say 'what can we do to have fun today; can we go on the giant swing; can we play this game; can we just sit at a table and do some craft?'"
With activities of archery, sliding down on a flying fox and rock climbing all making the cut for memory lane, reminiscing on other standout moments over the years brought smiles and laughter to the Orange doctor.
It's a privilege and an opportunity to be in a position where you're given that much in return for what would seem like very little effort.- Dr David Howe on the humility of working with cancer-stricken children
"I don't do the physical things as gracefully these days, but I remember on my first camp, I was introduced to abseiling and never in my life did I dream I would put on a harness and walk down the side of a wall," Dr Howe said.
"But just the fact of seeing kids doing that sort thing made me decide well if they can do it, then I can ... so, the kids certainly helped me with that one - and I've loved abseiling ever since."
Though, some of the other moments brought a different swell of emotions for Dr Howe, who recalled a couple of shared experiences with two different teenagers.
"I was looking after an older boy who had leukemia and he'd been going through the program for years. He was growing up and it was all going well and good, but he had a relapse, which didn't go so well ... and he was given just weeks to live," Dr Howe said.
"I had a bright red sports car and he just wanted me - he just wanted to go for a drive, just us to have a drive in the sports car together ... it was his dying wish.
"He was down at Westmead [Children's Hospital] and I was going to take him to Luna Park for the day, but he was too ill to go the day I got there ... but I did manage to fulfill his wish."
Though the young man was unable to walk very well, Dr Howe says they ending up taking a spin in the 'super fast, bright red sports car' from the kids' hospital in Sydney, spending time sharing laughs while seated around the outskirts of Luna Park.
"We just drove around town for a while as well and he really loved that ... it's just a privilege to be able to do something like that - to get the opportunity to fulfill that child's wish.
"He'd actually gone beyond the books of Camp Quality, but we still kept in touch at the family's request. We're not supposed to form outside relationships anymore because of child protection issues, which is pretty sad, but this was a fair while ago now. He was just short of 18 when he died."
Another emotional memory of Dr Howe's, involved a young woman - who he says felt emotionally safe enough to share her thoughts with him about some of her worries.
"I remember doing one camp and I was just talking to one of the teenage girls and she'd been going through chemotherapy, she had some significant concerns about her future and what the affect of her chemo was going to do," he said.
"I basically just had a chat to her. I didn't do anything new or all that different, but I suppose just being on camp and having the time for her and talking to her at her level was what she was after - rather than the posh, technical medical speech that doctors often do.
I had a bright red sports car and he just wanted me- he just wanted to go for a drive, just us to have a drive in the sports car together ... it was his dying wish.- Dr Howe on a moment with a child he'll 'never forget'
"Several months later, she died ... Her family contacted me and basically just thanked me and all I could think was, I couldn't remember doing anything special, but just sitting there and listening to her ... it was a very touching moment and I think that puts together what a person can do when you hang around there for 30 years."
Dr Howe says he also has three-decades-worth of costumes in his wardrobe at home, which he's accumulated through countless "making myself look silly" moments during camp concerts and themed days.
The rewards of his charitable work to date stretch to what he says has resulted in "lifelong friendships" with other volunteers alike, including those in his company, as well.
"It's all very emotional, but at the same time, it's a lot of fun. It's just become so ingrained in my life and in my work - I've really made some lifelong friendships along the way, too," he said.
It was a very touching moment and I think that puts together what a person can do when you hang around there for 30 years.- Dr Howe on contact from family after their daughter had sadly died from cancer-related causes
"And being able to give back certainly makes me feel better and when you turn things around, it sounds a bit selfish and so I'll ask myself, 'do I do this because it makes me feel better?' And the answer is I do, it does make me feel good - because I always feel like I get more out of it than what I put in."
Already the recipient of a plethora of honours - which includes a a birthday honour from the Queen herself - Dr Howe says he has no plans of stopping his work with the charity anytime soon.
"It's a place where kids don't have to worry about their illnesses and you get to know them quite well - you're basically talking about nothing most of the time, but for the kids to just be able to come and chat with a doctor or muck around, throw a water bomb at you ... I think it puts a different light on what doctors are about when it comes to helping, to caring," he said.
"It's having the opportunity to do something really great, you know? I kind of feel like ... if I wasn't a doctor, I probably- I wouldn't have- I may never have gotten involved with Camp Quality and gotten to stay with the kids for so long through their cancer journeys ...
"And I've often heard people comment and say 'oh that must be heartbreaking'. But, it's the opposite - it's actually quite heartwarming."
WANT TO HAVE YOUR SAY?
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.