Arts and crafts, dodgeball and swimming. It’s an average day for most kids at summer camp. But camp rainbow is anything but average. For 25 years, this camp has given children with cancer and their families the full summer camp experience.
“Here they can meet with all other kids who have been touched by cancer. Nobody looks at them oddly because they don’t have hair or they might have a scar somewhere because they’ve all been there,” said Sue Clifford, Director of Communications for the American Cancer Society. “Those who are on active treatment, we do have camp nurses and a doctor on call 24/7, so they kids will have their treatments without having to leave camp.”
Which most parents see as a bonus, since their campers do not want to leave. Mother of a first time camper, Carin Purrington, said he daughter loves it.”Her favorite part is just grabbing my leg and saying, “i love you for bringing me here.” Purrington continued, “Nicole got diagnosed at like 5 months, we never had the bonding. It was always in the hospital and now she’s 5, so she got to go to camp and you wouldn’t even tell she had cancer.”
Families, friends, and counselors come together to have a great time. Five time camper, Ty Orduna said, “A lot of people say this is the best week.”
Clifford says they keep coming back year after year. “Often our campers come back as counselors and volunteer their time. they just so enjoyed their time here that they want to give back and they want to mentor some of the kids who are going through treatment now.”
All campers and their families attend camp for free, thanks to the American Cancer Society events, like Relay for Life.