By Blaire Briody

Camp, to ease the suffering

  |  Camp Advice & Tips  

“My 5-year old son was diagnosed with a rare and sometimes fatal blood disease when he was 2 years old. After four years of chemotherapy, surgeries, infections, and everything else that goes along with this nightmare, we are no closer to a cure than day one. However, Camp Sunshine has given us a week to heal. Greg met great friends, fished, went boating, and forgot about clinic for a while. My 3-year-old daughter had a chance to be number one, and my husband and I laughed and cried with other parents in similar situations…”
— The Haskin Family, Pembroke, MA

   If your child is diagnosed with leukemia or another life-threatening disease, the whole family suffers. Family members need not only support, counseling, and precious family time, but an escape from the grueling demands caused by the disease. Camp Sunshine, located along the shores of Sebago Lake, Maine, is a free camp for children with life-threatening diseases and includes every member of the immediate family. Last year, the camp hosted more than 750 families. — 240 of them from New York.  Each session lasts one week, and programs now run year-round, including specific programs on cancer, organ transplant, renal failure, and even one devoted to parents who have lost a child to an illness.

   Programs include 24-hour on-site medical and psychological support.  “We offer a different kind of vacation for these families,” says Matthew M. Hoidal, executive director. “It’s holistic and therapeutic, but it’s also fun.”

   For session schedules, applications and more info — and for details on how you can volunteer or send a donation — call (207) 655-3800, or visit www.campsunshine.org.

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