Camp Happy Days offers respite for kids with cancer

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More than 160 children with cancer and their siblings ages 4-16 will leave the worries of hospitals, cancer and doctors far behind as they plunge into a week of fun and educational programs at Camp Happy Days. PHOTOS PROVIDED

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For 30 years, Camp Happy Days has offered a summer camp program for children with cancer.

“I have been in and out of hospitals with ongoing treatments...this week has given me the strength and the positive outlook that I need to combat all that is ahead of me. Thank you.”

This summer, from June 30 - July 6, more than 160 children with cancer and their siblings ages 4-16 will leave worries of hospitals, cancer and doctors far behind as they plunge into a week of fun and educational programs at Camp Happy Days’ Camp program at Camp Bob Cooper, Sumerton. For one week, these children will experience the excitement of a traditional and educational summer camp.

Camp is designed to provide a safe haven and a fun, interactive environment for children and their siblings who are experiencing the hardships of a cancer diagnosis. The 18 educational and recreational programs offered range from boating and fishing, to the challenges of the high ropes course and a 50-foot climbing wall. The programs are designed to give these children the chance to learn new skills, explore new programs, discover self-confidence and accomplish things they never dreamed were possible.

To the casual observer camp is simply about having fun and meeting new friends, but for children fighting cancer this week is so much more. Camp is a powerful life-changing experience for these critically ill children and their siblings whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer. During camp, children have a chance to seek support from others who understand what it’s like to be unable to attend school, lose your hair during chemotherapy, have scars from surgery or have prosthesis because they have lost a limb to cancer. This type of interaction helps children learn that they are not alone in their battle and fosters an atmosphere where children are encouraged to look beyond their limits, see the possibilities and face the challenges that lie ahead.

This educational and recreational camp offers hope, inspiration and encouragement. All of these children will find the support needed to improve their emotional and mental health as they experience the healing power of Camp Happy Days.

“It’s always depressing leaving camp; you leave with what seems like so much more than a week of memories… It’s really a big part of my life and I wouldn’t trade the memories or the friends that I’ve made there for anything in the world.”

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