LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Dozens of kids get to just be kids and enjoy activities at summer camp in Lincoln County, Georgia. Augusta University’s Camp Rainbow happens one week each June for children with cancer or rare blood disorders and their siblings.
At Camp Rainbow kids get to be a gymnast, a pickleball star and develop trusting friends while having a lot of fun. After nearly 40 years, the campground tucked away in Lincoln County still gives a few special kids an experience to remember.
“Camp Rainbow is a weeklong camp for kids with cancer and a sibling to come to camp and just forget about their cancer for a week,” said Kym Allen, Director of Camp Rainbow.
As long as they receive treatment at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, anyone age 4 to 18 can explore the grounds of Camp Lakeside for free. This week, it’s about 60 kids taking in the sun and activities.
“Wacky Olympics,” 10-year-old Grant Lowell told us about his favorite event thus far. “There’s this activity where you put a sponge on your head and you try to run to the bucket, squeeze the sponge and try to get as much water as you can in the bucket.”
While Grant enjoyed Olympics with water, others stayed dry and performed cool stunts, which included walking a thin red line and counting the numbers to hopscotch.
Director Allen explained, “We have daily activities where they do all kinds of stuff. Disc golf, canoe, kayaks, climbing wall, archery, arts and crafts. They play pickleball.”
Between games, kids bond. And when it’s time for meds, nurses and a doctor are on site as kids still battle cancer.
“One day I wasn’t eating,” Lowell recalled. “My mom took me in and they found out I had cancer. And one year later my mom found this camp and I just started going to it.”
“We have some kids with leukemia, we have some kids with brain tumor, we have some kids with osteosarcoma. It’s just a range of all different types of cancer,” said Allen.
Former counselor and volunteer Henry Scheer spent more than 30 years with Camp Rainbow and now he’s semi-retiring. And between the pillow fights and providing teens with t-shirts and meals each year at TBonz Steakhouse, he’s going to remember one thing.
“There was this one kid who passed away who just touched me. He was getting chemo and he was just so calm through all of it,” Scheer said.
This year is special as it was the first time in a few years kids enjoyed the camp with no COVID restrictions.